Overview of the February 27, 2013 meeting

The second community consultation meeting of the Dallington Pollinator’s proposed community garden was held on 27th February 2013. It was hosted by Councillor Shelley Carroll and facilitated by Anna Hill of Park People.
The agenda of the meeting was as follows:
1.      Introduction and History of the garden
2.      Design of the garden
3.       Management of the garden
4.      Break-out sessions
5.      Questions and answer session
Following the consultation meeting, the participants expressed some concerns about the project. These concerns have been noted and we will try our best to address them throughout the gardening year. It’s important to note that the final outcome of the project, during the trial year, will be dependent on community participation and engagement.
For the convenience of those who were unable to attend the meeting, attached please scroll to the next post for the series of concerns that were highlighted along with some plausible solutions that came up during the meeting. If you would like to add your feedback or have some particular concern which you feel has not been addressed, please feel free to reach us at: info@dallingtonpollinators.com by 27th April 2013.
Thank you.
On behalf of the Dallington Pollinator’s Steering Committee

Outcome of Public Community consultation meeting for proposed Dallington Community Garden.

The following concerns were raised by participants during the session. Some of the suggestions and recommendations were taken into account before summarizing the detailed responses.

Garden management

1. Total number of volunteers for community garden

 The number of volunteers in the first year, as it is a trial year, can range from 25-50. That being said, according to City of Toronto Staff, when a community garden is installed in an area, usually the garden has to turn away volunteers because interest is so high.

2. Concern about parking on Ferbane Place.

 We will encourage volunteers to walk to the garden and will let them participate based on a postal code that has proximity to the area. All current parking regulations currently in place will be enforced.

3. How can someone get involved?

People can contact us at the e-mail address provided, info@dallingtonpollinators.com, and further details will be put up on the Sign board at the Garden Entrance.

As part of community outreach efforts, we will welcome references through our partners/supporters. These include:

  1. Park People
  2. Flemingdon Health Centre
  3. Oriole  Foodspace

4. How can we engage youth / teenagers?

We plan to invite neighborhood high school students, like George Vanier, for opportunities to volunteer and earn their hours and also to help in mini-projects where skills like carpentry will be required.

We are trying to work on a partnership with Evergreen where they would hold youth focused workshops.

Anna Hill from Park People suggested the group to contact PACT which offers high school students a chance to delve in farming.

5. Steering committee membership

Steering committee members will be required to commit for 2 years at least with one year of volunteering with the garden as a minimum prerequisite. The steering committee members will be rotated thus opening up opportunities to all community members.

6. How do you resolve difference of opinion on gardening styles?

As the steering committee members rotate, each year the new steering committee members will have a chance to add on to or improve on the previous year’s garden design.

7. Subcommittees are important

Sub-committees will be formed as and when required, like a compost committee, seeds committee, etc.

8. Produce from garden

Produce from the communal and children’s garden will be offered to all volunteers. Between 30%-50% of produce will be donated to the community foodbank.

9. No official space for meetings

We have 2 options for holding after-hours meetings:

  1. Bronwyn Underhill at Flemingdon Health Centre has offered the Pollinator’s space.
  2. Kristen Wheatcroft, Oriole Foodspace, has offered space.

During the daytime, between 9am – 3.30pm, the garden group will be able to conduct meetings at the Dallington School.

10. Accountability, aesthetics and long term support key to healthy relationship between community and gardeners

The Garden coordinator along with the steering committee will be responsible for the management and upkeep of the garden. Community members’ participation will help with ‘eyes on the garden’ and give a sense of community and ownership. Children, particularly school children, will develop a special relationship with the garden and their involvement will, in part, ensure the sustainability of the project.

11. Rats and raccoons

RATS: Rats are linked with the natural biodiversity of the Park and its surrounding environment. But to minimize their encroachment the following measures are recommended:

  1. Keep the garden area clean and tidy, as they don’t attack fruits and vegetables
  2. Keep the compost temperature very hot by getting the correct mix of greens and browns, the high temperatures discourage rodents.
  3. Also placing a wire mesh around the Compost bins will prove useful to keep rodents out.

Further, our team will be in touch with Susan Berman, founder of Toronto Community gardening network for more solutions to the problem. This knowledge can be forwarded to the whole community so we all discourage rates throughout private properties.

These are some of the recommendations by city of Toronto:

  • Improve sanitation, and eliminate nesting sites.
  • Store garbage in rodent-proof containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Reduce clutter to prevent hiding spots (wood piles, old tires, etc.).
  • Eliminate sources of food (fallen fruit, pet food left outdoors, grass seed, etc.).
  • Secure composters to prevent rodents from entering.
  • Keep areas around bird feeders and bird baths cleaned.

RACCOONS: Like rats, raccoons are well-adapted to city life with few, if any, predators to fear. They have access to food, thanks to green bins and are extremely dexterous and can work their way around locks and doors.

 These are some of the ways recommended by the city of Toronto:

 Deterrent methods

  • Sprinkling pure soap flakes on the lawn and watering thoroughly
  • Mixing bone meal in garden soil
  • Sprinkling diluted Tabasco sauce over fruits and vegetables (wash before eating)
  • Lighting up the area where raccoons are a problem. Use one 100 watt bulb for every 15 square metres of garden
    (50 ft. by 50 ft.).

Garbage and composters

Garbage, compost and pet food can provide a real feast for raccoons, and once a free meal is found, they will return again and again. Since raccoons are very good at using their front paws, it is important to close down this potential wildlife café by:

  • storing garbage inside a garage, basement or bin until the morning of pick up
  • sprinkling strong smelling repellents such as oil of mustard, naphtha flakes or ammonia in or around the composter and garbage
  • installing lights around compost and garbage storage areas
  • cleaning up after barbecuing – raccoons are attracted to grease drippings
  • fitting garbage and composters with tight lids and securing them upright
  • using enclosed-type composters only
  • feeding pets indoors and not purposely feeding wildlife.

12. Care of school garden

The school garden will be managed with the help of the Garden coordinator selected by the community gardener volunteers who will serve as a liaison between the school and the community.

During summer time, families will be invited to participate for a period two weeks in the care and upkeep of the garden depending on the number of plots allocated to schools.

 Garden construction

1. Protect children during construction

The City and Gardeners will follow all safety protocols that are normally set out to protect children during any construction project by the City of Toronto. The scope of the project should not require a lot of heavy or dangerous machinery. Any machinery that is required to be used will be supervised and not kept out at night for children to get a hold of.

2. Care of tree roots during construction

The Parks supervisor will take into account the care of tree roots during construction and installation of the garden.

Garden Design

In terms of the design, opinions were divided. They liked both options but people were divided on whether the garden should be fenced or not. It was decided after much discussion that a fence would be placed around the garden to not only protect the garden but to keep the space as safe as possible.

1. Design

OPTION 1 – People also liked this option because it was fenced. They also liked the movable benches and trellis and that each year the garden could have a different design. One suggestion was that a fully fenced / enclosed area is best otherwise there is a risk of things getting stolen.

OPTION 2 – One person expressed preference for this option because it had a more organic design and that it did not have a fence all the way around.

Proposal: We will go with Option one as a fence seemed to be the most practical option however, we will try to incorporate aspects of option 2 that the community liked.

3. Lighting and visibility

There is a strong light already on the North side of the garden. Further solar lights could also be used to add further light to the area. We will look further into installing more lights as more money becomes available through grants we are applying for.