The L.E.A.F. Initiative is a Commonwell program to support capacity, resiliency and growth in the communities we call home.

The South Lanark Community Garden Off Grid Greenhouse, Solar, Water Reservoir Project

2208 Highway 511 LanarkK0G 1K0

Target Completion Date: July 31, 2022

What is this project about?

The South Lanark Community Garden would benefit greatly from building an off-the-grid greenhouse, with a solar electrical supply and storage system, and a water reservoir all set up to provide power for running water, fans, and grow lights on site at our community garden. The South Lanark Community Garden (formerly known as The Lanark Highlands Plan B Community Garden) is a community based garden initiative that has been evolving and growing since spring of 2017. It is based on about 5 acres of good fertile land in Lanark County, Ontario. This project will enable the raising of a much larger scale of plants for transplant to the community garden, an increased involvement of our community with us in the garden and greenhouse, furnish spring transplants to our members and community at large for their gardens and save on costs of plant production. It also will provide educational opportunities for community members and the youth of our community while learning how to operate a greenhouse.

Over the years the community garden has picked up momentum and community support. For example we now have a small apiary with two beehives and we have operated a youth garden orientation training program for the past two years both setting new directions for us. We have also initiated a seed saving program with the intent of producing a majority of our own seeds and being able to trade with other savers of seeds. We have established a small herb garden with the full intentions of expanding it. In addition we have welcomed the involvement of local indigenous community members and have started some traditional indigenous plants for them in respect of their heritage.

The addition of the greenhouse will also enable the extension of our involvement with the community and an increased production of food for the community. Based on a growing interest and support from the community we have recently incorporated as a non-profit. We knew that doing so would open many more opportunities to serve and support the community. Among other commitments, The South Lanark Community Garden is committed to assuring the security and sovereignty of our community food system, by growing, producing, storing and distributing fresh produce, dried and stored produce and prepared foods to our members and the larger community. We work directly with our community partners, The Table Community Food Centre, Plan B Lanark, and the Lanark Highlands Food Pantry to provide fresh produce to be distributed throughout our community.

In 2020 we were able to produce almost 10,000lbs of fresh food to share with our volunteers and the larger community. In 2021 we grew a whopping 16,000lbs of fresh food. For the summer of 2021 our volunteers were able to start approximately 2000 seedlings saving us thousands of dollars in seedling costs. Once the seedlings are lovingly started by our volunteers they get transferred to our makeshift DIY grow-light set up and then to a DIY small greenhouse. Our current greenhouse is a tarp garage that we converted to be used as a greenhouse and while it has served its purpose we are severely limited by how many seedlings we are able to start on the premises.

Currently our only access to water is via a nearby river. We are currently pumping water about three-quarter of a mile from the river to water our gardens. By setting up a water reservoir with drip irrigation we will save time, labour, wear and tear on equipment, and fossil fuels.