Transforming a public works yard into an opportunity to strengthen the community

The soon to be completed Hutton House – Cavendish Community Food Hub will supply fresh vegetables and fruit for local agencies that combat homelessness and food insecurity including Sanctuary London and Youth Opportunities Unlimited.

Dubbed ‘The Patch’, the fully-accessible urban garden will also grow the confidence and job skills of participants from Hutton House who will volunteer with the program.

“I have experience with homelessness in my past, I wish there were more resources like this back then, said Rose Cassidy who visited with a group from Hutton House. “I’m really proud to be part of a program that’s going to be doing this for people in the future.”

In March, city council agreed to lease part of the public works yard in Cavendish Park to the food hub.

This week, work began transforming dozens of wooden shipping pallets donated by 3M into raised garden beds.

Gabor Sass (L) and George Akomeah work to build garden beds for ‘The Patch’ on May 6, 2022. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV News)

Since the park is a former landfill, fruit trees will also be grown in raised containers and the former security fence will soon serve as a trellis for beans.

Hutton House expects 300 of its participants will take part in the project this growing season.

“You may struggle, you may experience hard times yourself, but you are helping someone else. You are being selfless and showing a dedication to your community,” explains Joe Gansevles with Hutton House.

Lead Facilitator Gabor Sass, adds that there will be therapeutic benefits to those participating at The Patch.

Raised containers for fruit trees at ‘The Patch’ urban garden, May 6, 2022. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV News)

“They just want to connect with nature, connect with plants, with each other,” he said.

Sass expect to have vegetables planted by the end of this month.

Gansevles believes The Patch can serve as a template for other under-utilized properties in neighborhoods looking to strengthen their sense of community.

“This is an open-patent prototype, and we think there is a place for this all over the city.”

Rose Cassidy is excited to start helping in the garden and said, “To build the community, hat’s great. To be able to work with food, it’s wonderful!”

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