What was once a windswept, foreboding industrial space once crisscrossed by informal footpaths and a railway track lined with abandoned box cars has now been transformed into a welcoming sight. Today, the Elmwood Community Gardens are beautiful. They are welcoming with stylized red benches that surround a statuesque green bicycle-shaped bike rack – all looking like a large, central sculpture within tranquil community gardens ringed by manicured green space.
The Elmwood Community Gardens are made possible by partnerships with our sister organizations the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation, the WRHA, Community Ventures, and other stakeholders in the community.
Pink strawberry blooms burst forth from the raised black earth of the gardening boxes. Lettuce, cucumbers, radish, carrots, various types of tomatoes and green leafy vegetation are also beginning to show. Free and fresh produce is for any community resident to enjoy just by signing up and requesting use of a gardening box.
The program has taken off wildly in popularity since it began several years ago,32 boxes are used by community residents who grow produce over the summer months for the dinner table. The gardens started in 2008 with 16 boxes and now we have 32.
With a handful of corner stores in the area and just one supermarket tucked in the corner of south-west Elmwood, fresh produce can be a challenge to come by. In addition, the gardens can be therapeutic for those who care for them and watch them grow. It also brings the community together and often gardeners socialize and share their skills.
Better Access to Groceries
(BAG) is a non-profit program under the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation (CNRC) sponsored Essential Foods in Elmwood and in partnership with Together In Elmwood (TIE) Parent Child Coalition, Chalmers Community Centre, Elmwood Community Resource Centre, and other community partners. Our mission is to provide the Chalmers neighbourhood and surrounding Elmwood community better access to fresh and low-cost fruits and vegetables, as well as promote community engagement activities and healthy eating. You can learn more about BAG on the Facebook Group: BAG – Better Access to Groceries
Our BAG documents available for download:
Click here to download the PDF: New Better Access to Groceries Guidelines