The Ottawa Citadel Church has planted their annual garden to grow fresh produce which will provide those in need with healthy food through the church’s Community and Family Services food bank.
Volunteers from the congregation work with students from Marius Barbeau Catholic Elementary School across the street, planting and maintaining the garden.
“The environment teacher at the school brings over classes to our garden until school is out for the summer, and then the church volunteers take over. The students also planted seeds for us,” said Lorna Simard, a member of the church congregation and volunteer. “It’s a nice partnership with the school.”
The garden was first created last summer on the grounds of the church with 6 ground level box beds and has expanded this year to nine boxes plus two raised beds accessible to everyone.
The team of volunteers from the congregation, who manage the garden, have planted a variety of fruits and vegetables including cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, carrots, peas, tomatoes, green and yellow beans and strawberries.
“We’ve been hoping to do this for some time and thanks to our officer Captain Graciela Arkell, we got it off the ground last year,” said Lorna. “The garden has many benefits. In addition to supplying the food bank, the church can provide salads for the Day Camp they offer in August from the vegetables grown in the garden, and it gives newcomers to Canada who attend the church, an opportunity to grow food, as many have done in their countries of origin.”
“We have neighbours taking an interest now and coming to us to help,” said volunteer Brian Simard. “My wife and I love to garden and we hope to see this garden continue to expand in years to come.”
“The garden is bringing the community together in a wonderful way and is providing our programs with fresh produce which is so wonderful,” said Salvation Army officer Captain Graciela Arkell. “We are so thankful for all those involved in our garden.”