Aug. 2, 2019Print | PDF
Summertime is synonymous with fresh-from-the-garden produce. Thanks to an innovative university-community project at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Northdale location in Waterloo, accessing hyper-local, organic vegetables is easy.
Swiss chard, kale, lettuce and cucumbers are just some of the vegetables grown in Laurier’s Northdale community garden that can be purchased at Veritas Café on the university’s Waterloo campus. As the growing season goes on, squash, tomatoes and watermelons will also be available.
The produce can be purchased at Veritas Café from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Cash, credit or debit is accepted and customers are encouraged to bring a shopping bag. Veritas also purchases produce from the garden for use in the dishes it serves.
The Northdale community garden, located on Hickory Street, measures 14,000 square feet. Laurier’s Sustainability Office oversees the garden in partnership with the university’s grounds team, Young City Growers – a grassroots organization that creates urban agricultural opportunities for students and youth in Waterloo Region – and Laurier Students' Public Interest Research Group.
A grant from the United Nations Association in Canada funds two Laurier student employees who work full-time at the garden during the summer to oversee daily operations. And there is more to the Northdale garden than the food grown there.
The garden is home to an array of pollinator habitat projects, such as a newly constructed bee spiral, which offers housing in crevices between large flat stones, and a pollinator garden filled with lavender, chives, rudbeckia and other plants.
The site also offers rental plots to local residents through KW Urban Harvester and Patchwork Community Gardens, two groups dedicated to community-supported agriculture.
“The garden is an innovative way to integrate community members into our campus,” says Stephanie MacPhee, manager of Laurier’s Sustainability Office. “The garden is a place for everyone, whether that’s enjoying your lunch hour there or getting involved through one of our community partners.”
Pick-your-own-produce days and other events will be held at the garden throughout the growing season, which runs through October.
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