Tucked away as it is behind a tree-lined fence on the east side of Redeemer’s gymnasium, you wouldn’t notice the long garden rows dotted with green shoots. You’d probably miss the huge, white water barrel resting on stilts. There’s not even a sign around yet to tell you that this spring Redeemer became the proud host of Hamilton’s newest Victory Garden.
“I am really looking forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for this garden!”
Victory Gardens started in Europe during the Second World War, when people grew fruit and vegetables in public squares and on their own property as part of the war effort. There’s been a resurgence since in response to concerns for food security, the environment and the poor. Hamilton Victory Gardens is a volunteer organization that has, since 2011, been transforming city lots into vegetable gardens. Fresh produce is donated to food banks and hot meal programs. The Redeemer garden is their fifteenth site.
While collaborating with Hamilton Victory Gardens, Dr. Edward Berkelaar and Dr. Darren Brouwer saw a golden opportunity for student engagement. As part of their co-taught senior seminar course in chemistry and environmental studies, the pair set students to work honing their grant-writing skills. The top proposal, co-written by Lianne Miedema and Kyla DeHaan, was submitted to the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TDFEF), with success. The grant will pay for start-up tools and equipment as well as salary for a student summer coordinator. Funding from Canada Summer Jobs will also go toward this new job.
Olivia Schultz, who is studying international development and business at Redeemer, is the project’s inaugural coordinator. She will be responsible for the work of establishing the garden and organizing volunteers. At this early stage, with a few seedlings are already in the ground, she has her work cut out for her.
“I am really looking forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for this garden!” Schultz says. “In future years as we get more volunteers, we have the capacity for this garden to grow much larger and serve the community that much more.”
Those interested in volunteering at the Redeemer Victory Garden can contact Schultz at email@example.com.