The concept behind Hamilton Victory Gardens has its roots in a time of global conflict.
In order to reduce pressure on public food supplies during the first and second World Wars, people in Canada, the U.S.A., Great Britain, France and Germany would use public spaces and their own yards to grow fruits and vegetables. Not only did these gardens, known as Victory Gardens, contribute to the war effort, they also provided an opportunity to instill an important sense of community when the world needed it most.
The Victory Garden concept has made a modern resurgence in Hamilton, Ontario. The result of one couple’s faith in the idea that by giving without expecting anything in return, a group of like-minded individuals can transform a city.
The seeds of Hamilton Victory Gardens were planted in 2011, the vision of Hamilton residents Bill and Judy Wilcox. They believed that the dozens of empty city lots lying unused in our city could become sustainable sources of food in a community where too many go hungry or do not have the proper nutritious food supply.
In partnership with Good Shepherd, the first Victory Garden was built on Catherine Street North in the spring of 2011. The idea resonated with dozens of volunteers, students, and neighbours who helped to grow and harvest 2,200 pounds of produce for local food banks and hot meal programs that year.
The simple act of one couple extending an unconditional hand of friendship has grown into a dedicated group of volunteers that have been able to harvest over 175,000 pounds of fresh produce for local food banks and hot meal programs in the past 6 years.
As of January, 2016, Hamilton Victory Gardens “has grown” (pardon the pun) to a total of 15 garden sites and 661 raised beds (equivalent size of 4 ft. by 16 ft.). The 1000’s of pounds of fresh produce harvested each year have been donated to 13 local food banks and food programs including Good Shepherd, Mission Services, Neighbour-to-Neighbour, and Living Rock.
The Hamilton Victory Gardens GOALS for 2016 include:
1) improved effectiveness and productivity at our
14 now 15! current garden sites in order to obtain a higher harvest yield of healthier, more nutritious produce;
2) expanded outreach of our Educational Program to include additional elementary and secondary school students
3) increased social inclusion opportunities for members of diverse community groups
Interested in helping us grow and harvest our gardens this season? We are always looking for volunteers of all ages! Fill out our information form and we will be in touch with more information.
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