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Low-income housing tenants dig in to community gardening

A group of people who live in low-income housing in Sudbury want to change how they're perceived by the public.

Sudbury community garden evidence of co-operation, hard work and problem-solving among tenants

Lynn Simard-McMurray said she is proud of the efforts she and her fellow tenants have made to grow a community garden. The garden is located near the low-income housing units where they live in Sudbury. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)
Some tenants at a low-income building in Sudbury are hoping their community gardens will help change perceptions about the kinds of people that live in their building. 7:06

A group of people who live in low-income housing in Sudbury want to change how they're perceived by the public.

The tenants of three housing complexes want to bury the misconception that they're lazy — and they plan to do that with their gardening skills.

Lynn Simard-McMurray is proud to show off the community garden behind the high-rise on Paris Street she calls home.

“We've got peppers, we've got corn, some strawberries, all kinds of goodies.”

Simard-McMurray has been living in the subsidized rental unit with her husband and children for three years.

She said her husband lost his job, but that could happen to anybody.

"You know what, it's not just losers who live here,” she said.

“There's a reason why you're here. Just like us, there's a reason we had to be here."

Simard-McMurray said a neighbour is growing vegetables because he can't afford to buy them for his children.

The community garden is evidence of co-operation, hard work and problem-solving, she added.

An agency called NOAH's SPACE helped support the community gardens by Paris, Balmoral Apartments and Ryan Heights.

“We've seen the pride and ownership they take of the gardens and we see how happy they are,” said spokesperson Barb Makela.

The project is giving tenants more than just vegetables, it's also giving them hope for a better future, she added.

“This is not where we ever wanted to be, but this is where we are now, and we were able to step back and re-evaluate many things, many priorities,” Simard-McMurray said.

“Now we can help our neighbours.”

Simard-McMurray said the community garden feeds her family and she's able to take some to the food bank as well.

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