Dallington Pollinators Community Garden: Recent Issues

A note from the Dallington Pollinators Community Garden group:

Dallington Pollinators Community Garden (DPCG)

DPCG was built in fall 2013 with a grant from Walmart-Evergreen Green Grants and Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation. The project was supported by the Ward Councillor, Shelley Carroll.

History of the garden

DPCG started as an initiative undertaken by community members to:

  • Build a community hub
  • Engage residents in stewardship of land
  • Address issues of food security and stormwater management using sustainable urban agriculture methods in Dallington Park.

As an area that is largely unexplored by local residents, we aspire to engage the community with this rare parkland resource within suburban North York. By providing a guiding model and engaging students and residents as volunteers and stewards, and offering programs and workshops, we will help people gain experience and build leadership skills for managing environmental stewardship projects.

Current situation

This year we marked the fourth year for growing in the garden and the fifth year since the garden was established. We are quite excited how far we have come and, especially feel proud of dedicated volunteers, who are the key to the success of the garden. Most of them live in the community but a few trek down from other places.

The garden serves as a magnet for pollinators and is filled with bees, butterflies and birds throughout the growing season. Carefully selected native plants provide the nourishment and habitat for the threatened pollinators and our primary role is to protect them. Without pollinators, as I explain to the kids, we will not be able to enjoy a lot of fruits and vegetables that we take for granted in our daily life.

As parents, we endeavor to provide the best for our children in terms of education, housing, material comforts, etc. But, for the mental and physical well-being, we give the least priority to the environment around us. Adding elements of beauty and nature in our proximity will enhance the cognitive and creative instincts of the children. Giving them spaces to explore will spark curiosity in children. We encourage directed and guided play, and teach through hands-on learning and direct observation.

Undirected learning may not necessarily lead to desired outcomes as we have recently experienced at our garden. We found that when parents do not engage children in directed play in the garden, the children have been exploring the garden on their own and helped move a lot of pollinators, loose parts and plant species out of the garden, or simply obliterated them. This has led to detrimental effects on the garden and has been very demotivating for volunteers. Hence, it has led the volunteers to consider drastic action.

As much as we do not believe in cordoning off natural spaces, we are being forced to take steps to build barriers to prevent unconditional entry into the garden space. Children and community member will then have access to the garden only when accompanied by a garden volunteer/steering committee member, or, a school teacher.

We invite you to send us your opinions on this issue and consider the following points:

  • Should the garden be cordoned off or, should the parents, who often stand as silent bystanders outside the garden engage with their children and teach them to be gentle in the garden?
  • Should we install a camera to monitor the garden and to impose fines on ‘pollinator vandals’? OR, give them duties in the garden/park instead?

 

You are encouraged to join our garden committee to help ensure the smooth running of the garden. New ideas from you will generate innovative solutions and help in strength building. Send us an email at: [email protected].

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dallington-Pollinators-Community-Garden-208102809292251/