Growing a community garden

May 16, 2018

Jodi Lastman

Chloe Sanchez believes that green spaces “unlock the parts of people that allow them to expand and grow.” This belief has fuelled Chloe’s work on a community garden that will bring the healing power of plants to the people in her neighbourhood. Chloe lives at Toronto’s 415 Willowdale, a Toronto Community Housing community in the inner suburb of North York. The community is made up of 280 units with very little access to green spaces. Chloe is 415 Willowdale’s tenant representative and has been working for three years to realize her vision of a healing, outdoor space for the people living in her community, and beyond.

Two years ago, a grant offered through Park people and TD Bank helped Chloe begin envisioning and planning her greening project. She quickly discovered that the property she wanted to use to create a community garden was not, in fact, owned by Toronto Community Housing, but by the City of Toronto. This unexpected learning added complexity and extended the timeline for the project. Chloe maintained a positive attitude and pivoted, giving her focus to animating the vacant green space with events to deepen the community’s engagement in the concept of growing healing and medicinal plants. Now, Chloe is moving forward her community’s vision for a greenhouse that features plants that heal.

Here’s how she did it.

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