Friday September 27, 2019

United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes is excited to announce that its newest endeavour in Food Security, Edwin Binney’s Community Garden, has hit yet another unprecedented milestone: more than two tonnes of fresh produce donated to local social service agencies! Crayola Canada’s unused land turned United Way CKL’s large scale garden set out with a goal of providing food security and food literacy to people in the City of Kawartha Lakes, and the project has been an extraordinary success for its first year of operation.

Naturally, the main goal of Edwin Binney’s Community Garden is to provide fresh produce to people who need it in the City of Kawartha Lakes through social service agencies, food banks, shelters, and children’s programming agencies. Eleven different agencies received fresh produce in the first year, thanks in part to the incredible power of  Jessica Topfer, Coordinator commented: “Thanks in large part to United Way CKL, we are seeing 95% of all donations going through be fresh and nutritious produce – items which such non-profits might not often come by, or which can be expensive to purchase for their programming. This has helped non-profits immensely by saving them some of their already limited financial resources, but most importantly, it has given members of our community an opportunity to access good food which can provide them the nutrition and energy they need as they work toward strengthening their future.”

A partnership with the Sustainable Agriculture program at Fleming College Frost Campus has meant that the garden receives a science-based crop rotation plan which will allow even more produce in future years. Students in the Sustainable Agriculture course are also able to receive practical experience that will count towards their diploma while working on site at Edwin Binney’s Community Garden.

The multi-pronged approach taken by United Way CKL has meant that along with experience for college students, children of all ages can enjoy learning at the garden. Thanks to a TD Friends of the Environment Grant, United Way CKL was able to hire an educator to create curriculum-based workshop materials so that children of all ages can enjoy the garden while learning about where their food comes from. Fifteen school classes and summer camps with children ranging from 3 to 17 years old were able to visit the garden in year one. A total of 300 young people gained hands-on experience in food literacy, numeracy, agriculture and biology through plant identification, scavenger hunts, crafts, and various whimsical activities in the garden. “The visit was not only very informative and interesting for the campers, but it was also very, very fun! Our campers thoroughly enjoyed learning about the garden and participating in the crafts and activities you had in place for us,” said the Summer Activities Coordinator at the City of Kawartha Lakes.

Representatives from Crayola Canada remarked: “This is an amazing accomplishment, way beyond any expectation we had when this project started. It is a result of a combined effort from so many local partners; Crayola is very proud to be a part of such a significant community initiative.”

Plans for year two are already in full swing, with the goal of increasing produce yields and student involvement. Anyone interested in getting involved in Edwin Binney’s Community Garden should contact Elly Millington, Projects and Communications Coordinator at United Way CKL by email at or by telephoning the office at 705-878-5081.