Loving Spoonful, KFPL bringing community garden to Calvin Park Branch

Design drawing for community garden at Calvin Park branch of KFPL. Image via KFPL.

Loving Spoonful and the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL) share common goals: making a positive difference and helping local communities be healthier and more connected. Together, these two organizations will bring a new community garden to the Calvin Park neighbourhood.

Loving Spoonful’s newest Community Harvest Garden will soon be under construction at the Calvin Park Branch, according to a release from KFPL.

“This new partnership will bring the community together around an essential common element—delicious, healthy food. Opening up our green space in this way not only supports the great work of Loving Spoonful, but it also provides an opportunity to learn and grow together, with KFPL providing garden-inspired programs and resources for all to enjoy,” said Kimberly Sutherland Mills, Director, Service Design and Delivery. “A wide expanse of grass and young trees remains for our neighbours and patrons who want to get some exercise or curl up with a good book!”

According to the release, the garden is part of KFPL’s larger goal to rejuvenate the green space around the Calvin Park Branch. The City of Kingston approved the site in May 2022, and construction will be underway as soon as possible to maximize the growing season.

Loving Spoonful consulted with Immigrant Services Kingston & Area and KEYS Newcomer Services to confirm that this location will be a good place to reach newcomer communities, which face high rates of food insecurity, KFPL said. The garden will be coordinated and supported by a Loving Spoonful staff member and will engage community members in collective gardening.

A generous $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area will go toward the cost of a shed, wash-up station, and materials to build raised beds, according to the library. Half of the raised beds will be 24 inches high and half will be 12 inches high, ideal for children. The beds will be four feet wide and range from 20 to 45 feet in length for over 1,700 square feet of total growing space.

Based on yields from the existing, similarly-sized Community Harvest garden, well over 2,000 pounds of food per year are expected from this garden, equivalent to 2,000 meals, according to the release. The produce will be available at affordable access markets at the Calvin Park Branch and at the Kingston Community Health Centre in Rideau Heights, and through Loving Spoonful’s Fresh Food Access programs and Community Kitchen programs.

During the growing season, the Calvin Park Branch will also host a Community Harvest Market on Thursdays from 3 to 5 p.m. to provide the community with access to affordable produce.

The library said that bed construction will begin this month, as well as setting planting timelines and organizing volunteer schedules.

The project received strong support from library patrons during surveys and, according to the library, all concerns coming forward from the community consultation have been addressed. Community members have remained involved in this process, with two meetings so far with interested individuals, and the results guided decision-making around creating this partnership and designing this garden, according to the release.

Check out the Community Harvest website, and follow them on Facebook for other ways to get or stay involved. Visit KFPL’s Community Garden Project page for more details on the consultation process and community input on the green space at the Calvin Park Branch.

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