An ‘example from the heart of Hamilton’: this eastern resident grows food to help feed his neighbors
As food prices soar, an East Hamilton resident has planted fruits and vegetables that members of her community can take away for free when they’re ready to harvest.
Christine Gordon says it’s her way of fighting food insecurity and helping people who are struggling to put food on their tables.
Gordon has two gardens – one right outside his house and the other a few yards across the street near Gage Avenue North and Barton Street East in Ward 3.
“[One] has a square of strawberries and regular vegetables,” Gordon told CBC Hamilton.
“The one in my house, I have all kinds of vegetables and I have crates full of vegetables and wildflowers that people can cut up and take home.
“I have tomatoes, rhubarb, potatoes, beans, peas, peppers, spinach, radishes, onions, garlic, sweet peas and Brussels sprouts. J So I have a whole variety,” she added.
Gordon says people in the neighborhood have welcomed the gardens.
“That’s the whole point. They come and they take what they need because they’re on [Ontario Disability Support Program] or on welfare and they can’t afford to buy food,” she said.
“Also a lot of them can’t walk or go to a food bank…There’s one couple I know in particular who can’t go to the food bank just because they can’t get to the food bank. go there physically. So they have the security of knowing that they can come and get fruit and vegetables from me.”
Different from a community garden
Gordon explains that although his gardens are for the whole community, they are not the same as a community garden.
“A community garden is what the community tends and takes care of, and sometimes a community garden has its own plots [that individuals tend to],” she says.
“For my gardens, I have it on my property and I have it in front of an industrial property, and I pay for it, take care of it and it’s available for whoever needs it or wants it. ”
Gordon says “it would be really great if we could have these all over the neighborhood,” adding that community gardens usually have a locked gate and aren’t accessible to everyone.
“You can’t access it [if you are not] a member of this community garden,” she said.
Gordon begins planting the last week of May and keeps the gardens active until the last week of October.
She says around 20 people regularly access the garden for supplies, but she keeps no record of who they are.
“I try not to look because I like people to feel comfortable coming in and taking what they need,” Gordon said.
Gordon says it costs him about $25 to run the gardens.
“I save seeds, I have a seed bank in front of my house for other people to swap seeds and I take some… I just try to make it work without spending too much money. money,” she said.
“Incredible” example of local engagement: a councilor
Meanwhile, Ward 3 Councilor Nrinder Nann praised Gordon for his project, which she described as an example of local residents engaging at ward level to address food security issues.
“She is an example of a resident knowing and responding to the needs of her local community,” Nann wrote in an email to CBC Hamilton.
“She is conscious and caring and has turned her home into a community center for what residents need. She is an incredible example of the heart of Hamilton. Seeing a need and meeting it is a strong example of Steeltown’s love. .”