Montreal

Incredible Edibles urban gardens foster community in NDG

If you're hungry in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce this summer, you've got options. Residents can stop at community gardens across the neighbourhood to pick freshly grown vegetables and herbs — for free.

Project aims to grow food in urban areas for anyone and everyone to share

The initiative has been in existence for five years now. (Submitted by Kathy Aitken)

If you're hungry in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce this summer, you've got options. Residents can stop at community gardens across the neighbourhood to pick freshly grown vegetables and herbs — for free.

Community workers and volunteers are coming together this week to kick off another season of Incredible Edibles, an urban gardening initiative which began five years ago.

Kathy Aitken, who's part of the Incredible Edibles team, said residents love the idea.

"This is about a lot more than growing food," Aitken said. "It's about building community."

On Sunday, Incredible Edibles is holding a planting session for volunteers and community workers, along with a workshop on how to design a garden, held by Jane Barr, the coordinator of Incredible Edibles in NDG.

It's being held at 1 p.m. in front of the post office at Sherbrooke Street and Wilson Avenue, where one of the gardens is located.

According to Kathy Aitken, who's part of the Incredible Edibles team, residents have really responded to the urban gardens. (Submitted by Kathy Aitken)

The plants come from local farms, including the organic producer Jardins Carya, as well as from community organizers who grew plants in their homes under lights.

"Today will be really fun," Aitken said. "We have lots and lots of plants."

Other urban agriculture initiatives, like Le Mange-Trottoir, aim to foster community, too. The group is starting its planting session at a community garden at Castelnau and Drolet streets today starting at 10 a.m.

The City of Montreal also organizes and maintains community gardens in almost every borough. 

Plant beds were set up on Somerled Avenue on Saturday in two locations — in front of the Metro grocery store at the corner of Prince of Wales Avenue, and in front of Fire Station 46 at Cumberland Avenue.

A circular herb garden was built in front of the fire station.

Two more gardens, at Monkland and Montclair Avenues in front of a home and in front of Coop la Maison Verte, are also part of the neighbourhood's collection of urban gardens.

About 40 people came to help out on Somerled Street, Saturday, Aitken said.

One of them was Lianne Luciani, who said she believes gardening brings people together. 

"I really, I really believe in the community that's built around planting things and gardening."

With files from Valeria Cori-Manocchio and Claire Loewen

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