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Local Directory for Ottawa, ON


Homeless Hope Garden Party

Shepherds of Good Hope Garden

Shepherds of Good Hope Garden

The Shepherds of Good Hope has a community garden plot, just like ours only much bigger and much much better organized It’s out at the Kilborn Allotment Garden. They grow food there for the soup kitchen.

When I volunteered at Shepherds, there was usually enough food to go around but a chronic shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables. We had clients whose whole faces would light up when they saw we had salad.

Some health conditions, like diabetes, affect the homeless and housed populations in roughly equal proportions, but homeless people get it younger and it’s often more severe and harder to manage on the streets.

Actually, I can’t imagine too many things more difficult than trying to eat a healthy diet on the streets. You’ve got no refrigerator or stove, hardly any money, and you have to carry all your possessions – including your food – around with you.

And yet, there are people on the streets who are trying to eat well. Whenever they have a choice, they’ll make the healthier choice. They’ll have their sandwiches on brown bread. They’ll opt for peanut butter rather than mystery meat. They’ll avoid the pastries. They’ll arrive early on the off chance there might be a little salad that day. I don’t think I’d have the self discipline – I’d probably take the path of least resistance and live off day-old TimBits.

But I was thinking of three of those clients in particular yesterday when we were at the Shepherd’s Hope Garden Party. If a little salad can light up their faces, imagine what a whole garden in its full August glory could do! I liked knowing that all the produce from this gorgeous garden was destined for them.

The Shepherds invited the whole community out to their garden for the garden party, where they had a jazz band, door prizes, garden tours and an opportunity to learn more about the food programs.

They had a garden quiz too, in which contestants identified plants in the garden. We also had to define four different phobias: alliumphobia, rupophobia, entomophobia and lachanophobia.*

GC and I tied with another woman for second prize, with a score of 18 out of 20! (Unfortunately the tie was broken by a coin toss, which we lost…otherwise we would have won a gift certificate for the yummy Green Door.)

But actually we did win a prize because nobody else got the bonus question right: How do you know Santa Claus is a good gardener?** Our prize? A free rototilling session for a 25 x 50 garden plot!

*Fear of garlic, fear of dirt, fear of insects and fear of vegetables
**Because he ho ho hoes!

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