Oh, Canada! This year we had two events in the great white north; one in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and one in Edmonton, Alberta. This was the first year we were able to ask every Canadian associate to partake in the volunteer day, and with nearly 150 total participants we made a huge impact on our two community partners.
At our first event in Edmonton, we partnered with the Mustard Seed. This organization recently became affiliated with the Neighbour Centre, our 2015 Weidner Cares partner, and has served people experiencing poverty and homelessness in Alberta for more than 30 years. They provide individuals with food, household goods, and clothing, in addition to a number of employment and life skill services.
At our Saskatoon based event, we partnered with the Saskatoon Food Bank’s Garden Patch. This was our second Weidner Cares event with this organization, and they were thrilled to have us back for another day of service. The Garden Patch is a community-driven urban agriculture initiative located in the heart of Saskatoon. This once vacant city-owned lot has been transformed into a thriving community garden that has produced over 100,000 lbs of fresh produce over the past 5 years which is distributed to the community through the food bank.
Last year, we helped to build a number of structures at the garden, including a green roof, picnic tables and benches, a sign board, and raised beds. This year we spent some time maintaining the structures we had previously built, as well as building a few new ones. We repainted and repaired a number of raised beds and benches, we harvested hundreds of pounds of onions and garlic, shifted compost, and installed a long trellis along the garden beds for plants to grow on. We also spread mulch across a huge portion of the garden, painted and installed new signs, and revamped their children’s garden with new ground cover and some new paint.
Our largest project of the day was building a new shade structure for the garden to use as a classroom space. At nearly 10 feet tall, the structure looks over the garden and will provide future students with a wonderful shady spot to learn about the garden and urban agriculture.