A while back Oakvillegreen helped establish a communal garden at Trafalgar Park – off of Kerr St. We asked one of the original founders and gardener, Susan Curran, to tell us the story of how the garden grew, both in community and in veggies.
According to Susan, when she retired in 2007, she was looking for a “project”. With help from her daughter she decided to try and organize a community garden somewhere in Oakville. She approached the Town of Oakville and was offered space in Trafalgar Park. Susan was a member of Oakvillegreen at the time and Oakvillegreen was able to assist with insurance and with an application to the Oakville Community Foundation for a small startup grant.
Susan also noted that the approach – a communal garden – was novel for the town, which had only offered allotment plots up to that point. The Town of Oakville assisted with garden preperation and arranged for the Region to deliver compost and the following year erected a fence around the garden.
During the first spring, Susan advertised a meeting for all those interested in gardening together. About 50 people showed up. When it came time to do the actual work, there were about 20 volunteers – of all ages (from 5 up) and with varying degrees of gardening knowledge. Decisions were made collectively and unlike the little red hen, all shared in the work and all shared in the harvest.
Susan also explained that while many of the original gardeners have moved away, a core remain and every year new members join. Also, because the garden is located at the entrance to the park, there is a steady stream of dog walkers, parents on the way to the playground, and residents walking to their apartments. People always stop and ask about the garden, and they are invited to join if they wish. Students also help out as part of their community hours for high school.
The 40 x 50 ft garden is still communal and filling out beautifully again this year with veggies, herbs and flowers. People wanting to join in or help out can contact Susan at: cursusan [at] gmail [dot] com. All are welcome to participate as they are able and members save and share seeds, start their own seedlings, dig free compost from the region and contribute to hard costs such as buying manure.