Harcourt Communal Garden Upgrades

David Messer Guelph Smart City Office • 24 November 2020
Upgrades to increase productive capacity at Harcourt Communal Garden

HCG is an informal, small-scale urban agriculture using no-till, permaculture practices in on-ground and raised beds. We utilize unused Church land and community volunteers to produce local, nutritious, organically-grown vegetables to help feed those in need.

In ten years 6,006 lbs. have been donated to Chalmers Community Services. Yields thrive by crop rotation, plotted by a Landscape Architect/Urban Farmer. Inedible plant matter is composted and with sheep manure, amends the soil yearly.

A citywide Community Gardens Festival hosted at HCG; student volunteers from U of G's annual Project Serve and gardeners interact with countless passers-by who learn about UA.

This creates connectedness; increases food security; strengthens local food systems; promotes community resilience as part of the circular food economy.

Upgrades to significantly increase production: Vertical growing system Drip irrigation system Water harvest from shed roof Fence to deter animals Renew raised beds for accessibility

Harcourt Communal Garden (HCG) team includes:

  • Coordinator (member of the Community Garden Network) who recruits and schedules weekly volunteers
  • Landscape Architect/Urban Farmer plans crop rotation; donates seeds and grows seedlings in a neighbour's greenhouse
  • Water Engineer to set up drip irrigation system across in-ground and raised beds - Dedicated volunteers (ages 16-80) with varying levels of experience - may be first time food growers. Experienced gardeners mentor the less experienced
  • Harcourt's 'young families group' plants seedlings each spring - a learning event for the whole family

HCG collaborates with:

  • University of Guelph's Project Serve
  • Student volunteers contribute as directed
  • Girl Guide groups earn badges helping and learning about growing food
  • Master Gardeners give workshops on weed identifying, hoop house use and food growing