2018 Year in Review
2018 marked the 12th growing season at the Trent Vegetable Gardens. The following is an overview of this past growing season, including information on production levels, academic programming and student engagement.
2018 was a great growing season at the TVG. Apart from the lack of rain later in the season, the hot and humid weather made for excellent growing conditions. Our best performers were from the nightshade and cucurbit families, followed by roots, while brassicas performed less well. In total, the TVG produced 4548lbs of produce (excluding garlic). The vast majority was grown in our field garden (3479lbs), while a smaller portion was grown on the rooftop (1069lbs). Of the food produced, about 3500lbs was donated to the Seasoned Spoon Café both for processing over the summer and through regular deliveries throughout the fall. Of our total 1500 heads of garlic, about 50% was donated to the Spoon. About 700lbs of food was donated to local community food centres and non-profits, including Food Not Bombs, One Roof Community Diner, and the Youth Emergency Shelter. Another 300lbs of food was shared among our employees and volunteers.
Hosting drop-in hours proved to be an effective way of getting volunteers out into the garden during the summer. There were a small group of dedicated volunteers that consistently showed up for drop-in hours and participated in our summer events. Once the fall semester started there was no shortage of interested students. Attendance among shift volunteers rose and our bi-weekly drop-in afternoons would consistently attract 10 or more students, most of whom had never been to the garden before.
The TVG was pleased to support the employment of five individuals in 2018. The TVG was approved for four 8-week Canada Summer Jobs positions for the first time as well as three positions through the Trent Work Study Program.
Service Learning Placements
A total of 38 students participated in service learning placements this fall. Trent students of environmental science and ecological agriculture joined us in the field and rooftop gardens through September and October and assisted in harvest, mulching, seed saving, soil prep, and shutting down the gardens for the winter.
Other For-Credit Volunteers
Nine students from Trent’s ESL program joined us for two afternoons as part of their Food and Community units. Participants helped with harvesting, seed saving and bed prep. Thirty-two high school students enrolled in the Youth Leadership in Sustainability (YLS) joined us for two afternoons in the fall to tackle large tasks in the garden. Engaging students outside of the Trent Community was particularly rewarding.
Participation Break Down
Special Projects and Events
We purchased a hoop bender this fall to create heavy-duty season extension hoops. Using inexpensive electrical conduit, the TVG can now use these four-foot hoops to support row cover, plastic bird netting and greenhouse plastic to protect plants from insects, animals, and harsh temperatures.
New Garlic Shelter
With the help of a generous local carpenter who donated her time, our garlic curing shelter got a well-deserve make-over. Using new lumber and wood from the original structure, our new shelter has improved airflow to combat mold growth and is estimated to hold about 500 more garlic bulbs.
Workshops and Work Parties
The TVG co-hosted three workshops in collaboration with the Seasoned Spoon Café:
Dis-O Week Farm to Table Tour
Community Meal and Haudenosaunee Corn Teaching
And four work parties and events:
Garlic Cracking Extravaganza
Sweet Potato Harvest Work Party
End of Summer Shindig
End of Season Celebration and Potluck