Summer Job Posting

Vegetable Gardener Job Ad

United Way - Kawartha Lakes

Vegetable Gardener — Canada Summer Jobs position

Contract Position: 8 week contract at 35 hours per week – Start date as soon as possible

Rate of Pay: $17.00/hour

Deadline of Application: May 10, 2024 at 4:30pm


United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes provides financial support for agencies and programming in City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County. Through our work we address our 3 Pillars: Poverty to Possibility, All that Kids Can Be and Healthy People, Strong Communities. We also run a food security and food literacy farm in partnership with Fleming College and Crayola Canada.

The Vegetable Gardener position is funded through Canada Summer Jobs – Service Canada.  The successful candidate must sign and adhere to the United Way’s confidentiality agreement and act with best practices in regard to work ethics and procedures. They must exercise standard safety practices while on site and performing duties off-site for the United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes. This position pays $17.00/hour.


General Responsibilities

The Vegetable Gardener will work with staff to:

  • Plant, maintain and document yields from garden plots at the United Way office.
  • Support improved health outcomes and food security for local residents through work at Edwin Binney’s Community Farm & Education Centre located on the property of Crayola Canada.
  • Assist with the preparation of marketing materials to promote work in the community around agricultural and community gardens.
  • Perform the day-to-day tasks of maintaining a small-scale farm including planting, watering, weeding, harvesting and distributing produce.
  • Assist with the cleaning and maintenance of garden tools, storage sheds, irrigation systems, etc.
  • Assist with preparing produce for distribution to community food security initiatives (ie. picking and washing produce)
  • Help with set-up and supervision of weekly farm stand. Handling of sales, helping customers and restocking produce.
  • Assist with recording and reporting produce yields and day-to-day activities at the farm.
  • Assist with the promotion of United Way CKL’s programs and partnerships related to food security, food literacy and local food. This may include YouTube content creation and brainstorming.


Please Note:  Due to the nature of the work, flexibility in scheduling will be required and some weekend work may be assigned. This position is physical, with tasks associated with lifting produce and tools, and gardening/harvesting.



Well-developed interpersonal skills

Communication skills both verbal and written (report writing)

Hands on experience in gardening, farming, or general labour

Experience in customer service and volunteer management

Time management and strong organizational capabilities

A valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle are not necessary but are considered assets to this position.

Bilingualism is considered an asset.


Core Competencies

Analytical Thinking:
Use practical knowledge and experience to solve routine problems. Asks questions to determine the sources of the problem; discusses possible solutions. Think outside the box and find efficiencies in work flow.

Communication Skills:
Communicates clearly and confidently both verbally and in writing to a variety of audiences. Demonstrates the ability to tailor information and delivery to suit the nature of the material, audience, and situation. Demonstrate skills in relationship development with people of all ages and abilities.

The candidate should be comfortable asking questions for clarification and distinctly communicating issues, ideas, needs, etc.

Leadership and Customer Service Skills:
Develops and leads educational workshops for a variety of audiences such as camps, daycares, seniors’ groups, etc. Strong focus on customer service and assisting clientele in a helpful and respectful manner. Regularly handles questions and provides friendly and courteous customer service.

Execution and Organizational Skills:
Organizes work duties and workspaces in an organized and structured manner to deliver on specific tasks and meet deadlines effectively and efficiently. Able to manage changing priorities and adjust accordingly to new and different tasks.

Teamwork Skills:
Demonstrates: an understanding of the overall work of the United Way, a positive attitude, the ability to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a team.


Criteria as laid out by the Canada Summer Jobs Agreement, “Participant” means an individual who:

(a) is between 15 and 30 years of age (inclusive) at the start of employment;

(b) is a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident, or person on whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act [S.C. 2001, c. 27]*; and

(c) is legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial / territorial legislation and regulations.

*International students are not eligible. Recent immigrants are eligible if they are Canadian Citizens or permanent residents.


Reports to:

The successful candidate will report to the Farm & Project Coordinator and Co-Executive Directors.

Resumes must be received no later than 4:30pm on Friday, May 10, 2024.

Applications must be sent to:

Via email: emily@ckl.unitedway.ca

Via post: Attention: Emily Beall, Co-Executive Director. 50 Mary St. W. Lindsay, ON

Cover letter should reference “Summer Job Applicant – Vegetable Gardener”.

Emailed applications should reference “Summer Job Application” in the subject line.


We thank all candidates in advance and please note United Way will contact directly those selected for interviews.


United Way CKL is committed to accessibility and inclusion. If you require accommodation, please let us know.

By |2024-04-24T12:48:33-04:00April 24th, 2024|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Catch Us on TV!

Our documentary, The Garden, is streaming on Rogers TV throughout March. The film documents the first season of Edwin Binney’s Community Farm & Education Centre and details the planning and partnerships that have made the space so successful.

Rogers TV Schedule:

Monday April 15th: 4:00pm

Wednesday April 17th: 1:00pm

Friday April 19th: 10:00pm

Saturday April 20th: 3:00pm

Or what it online anytime here:

The Garden: Feeding The Community One Plant At A Time – Kawartha Lakes (rogerstv.com)


Hear about our work in the community, service agency grants, fundraisers, and plans for Edwin Binney’s Community Farm & Education Centre on our episode of Spotlight Kawartha on Rogers Ignite Channel 548 or Cable Cable channel 26.



We are also on Rogers TV’s Farm to Fork talking about our food security work and food literacy programming.


By |2024-04-11T10:44:12-04:00March 6th, 2024|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tampon Tuesday for International Women’s Day

Celebrate International Women’s Day with United Way CKL and the Lindsay and District Labour Council by donating a pack of menstrual products. Drop them off to our office at 50 Mary St West in Lindsay or at any of the businesses listed above.

We are collecting hygiene products until Friday March 28th. We will then distribute the products to local organizations and networks where there is a high need for menstrual products.

1 in 4 women in Canada experience period poverty and are often choosing between purchasing food or purchasing their necessary hygiene items. In honour of Women’s Day, we hope folks will consider picking up an extra pack of product at the store and dropping off to us or the other partnering businesses.

We encourage other groups to start their own drives. If you have a large donation, please contact Emily (emily@ckl.unitedway.ca) to arrange the drop off and a photo op.



By |2024-02-23T16:12:06-05:00February 23rd, 2024|Special Events, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Coldest Night of the Year!

United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes is proud to be hosting the Coldest Night of the Year.

This event will take place at Fleming College Frost Campus in Lindsay, 200 Albert St. S. on February 24th. There are two walking routes available either 5km or 2km. Event check-in starts at 4pm and walking begins at 5pm. After the walks there will be hot refreshments and food available at Fleming College.

This is an event happening in communities throughout Canada to raise awareness of those experiencing hurt, hunger, and homelessness.

You can register to walk either as an individual or as a team here: Register – Coldest Night of the Year 2024 Canada (cnoy.org) but don’t forget to raise money.

If you’d like to volunteer to help ensure the event runs smoothly register here: Volunteer – Coldest Night of the Year 2024 Canada (cnoy.org)

No matter how you decide to participate make sure you come prepared for the cold! Wear layers, bring your hats, mitts, and scarves, and a good pair of boots to boot!

We look forward to having you all join us for this wonderful event supporting a great cause!

Thanks to Lindsay Sparks & Eagles for their “Sockraiser” for Giving Tuesday.! In addition to the 144 pairs of socks collected, they also completed a food drive.  Way to go Girls! Thanks to the Robin and the other leaders & helpers who initiated this venture.  If you would like to conduct a “Sockraiser” please contact Dawna at SocksforCKL@outlook.com

By |2023-12-04T16:11:09-05:00December 4th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY – Addressing the Root Causes of Poverty to Lift Our Communities Up

When it comes to tackling poverty across the globe, there is still a lot of work to be done. According to statistics from the United Nations, given current trends, 575 million people will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030 – and only about one third of countries will meet the target to halve national poverty  levels. In Canada specifically, millions of people rely on community service organizations to fill the gaps left by inadequate incomes to access food, shelter, mental health supports, and other basic needs. In the first six months of this year alone, the 211 helpline received over 43,000 housing related requests, which is a 22% increase from the previous 6-month period.


A report from the University of Toronto shows that 1 in 5 children under the age of 18 in the ten provinces lives in a household that experienced some level of food insecurity. In addition, households with children led by female lone parents are especially vulnerable to food insecurity—38% of these households were food insecure. In 2021, up to 163 million people were estimated to have been pushed into poverty worldwide after the onset of the pandemic. Although Canada was not spared, a number of federal government funding programs helped millions stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, Canada experienced record declines in child poverty, which demonstrates the need for ongoing federal government funding to maintain and build on these gains in poverty reduction.


Our network is committed to working towards ensuring an equitable future for all communities across Canada. From coast to coast to coast, United Way Centraides are often the primary resource for the rising number of people falling below the poverty line in our communities. As local experts, we play many roles in community: as collaborators working alongside agency partners and community organizations, as enablers by funding programs and services, as advocates by shining light on tough social issues like poverty while pushing for sustainable solutions, and more.


To tackle poverty, United Way Halifax has helped fund housing support organizations like Welcome Housing, Public Good, and The North Grove, the latter having helped people like Sam, a single mother with two daughters who have been ‘renovicted’ three times and unhoused for quite some time. In the Prairies, United Way Saskatoon & Area are seeing success in helping people experiencing homelessness through the Journey Home program launched in partnership with Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service. Across the country, United Way Centraides are continuously working to fund or partner with organizations that help reduce poverty and assist communities with basic needs.


As we observe the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we at United Way Centraide Canada recognize the importance of tackling poverty at both the community and national levels. We commend our local United Way Centraides and their network of community organizations who work together to address the root causes of poverty across Canada. And we remain committed to advocating nationally for additional income support programs and other benefits from the federal government in order to move towards an equitable future for all.

By |2023-10-17T08:29:23-04:00October 17th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

From the Ground Up: Planning Your Garden

The adage holds true; if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The success of our gardens greatly depends on us creating a solid plan. Typically, this process starts at the end of the previous season. With all the data collected throughout the season still fresh in our notes we can begin to identify what worked well, what could be improved, and things we might not do again. Hopefully we spend more time on the first two, but no one is born with a green thumb.  

Now, I hope you aren’t sweating thinking that you have missed your opportunity to start planning your garden. It’s only too late if you don’t start. By following this post, we hope to help you create an effective plan quickly that will get you producing food efficiently this season.  

Where do you start? 

Before we can think about the types of plants we want to grow, we need to first determine the best spot to put our garden. Many people avoid starting a garden believing that they don’t have enough space or that the space they do have doesn’t get enough sunlight. Though many of our main crops do require full sun i.e., 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, many plants will do just fine in partial sun (4-6 hours of sunlight) or partial shade (4-6 hours of diffuse sunlight or shade in the afternoon). The first step we recommend is identifying the length and quality of sunlight that your potential growing area is exposed to. Make a list of potential garden sites that you have access to, this could be your entire back or front yard or a specific section of your yard, a deck or balcony for those with limited or no yard. Beside each potential garden space, list the light exposure (backyard – full sun 6-8 hours, front yard – partial sun 4-6 hours).  Another note on sun exposure is that throughout the season sections of our gardens can have varying degrees of sun exposure. An area that receives full sun exposure during the middle of summer might be a partial sun or partial shade area in the spring and fall. Keeping notes on the sun exposure of your garden can help you in further planning. 

Next, identify the terrain and landscaping elements of the potential garden spots. Is the area flat, sloped, or uneven? Is there anything already growing in the area (grasses, trees or perennial bushes)? Also, is the ground bare soil, mulched or paved? Identifying the quality of the terrain of a potential garden is an important step as it will give you an idea of the time commitment needed to build the garden. For example you may choose a spot that receives less sunlight but has ground that is flat, soft and rich in organic matter (basically ready for a garden) over a site that has full sun but also compact soil, is on a steep slope or is very uneven. Choosing the shadier garden location may mean you have to change your crop list for more shade tolerant plants (think lettuces and leafy greens such as kale, and many herbs do wonderfully in the shade). Last season I planted bush beans in an area that was mostly shade and produced an enormous amount of beans, others have had success growing peas, carrots, beets and even winter squash in partially shaded areas. Crops that do not do well in the shade however include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Prioritize planting these in areas that do receive full sun. 

Now that you have a location that you are satisfied with, go back to our first post about soil to test its quality (structure, drainage, fertility etc). If you don’t have time to do the tests (or don’t want to) amending with compost is a cure all for every garden.

Crop Selection and Seed Procurement:

Your goals and location will likely be the biggest factors when deciding what vegetable or fruit crops you want to grow. Many gardeners grow to save money, become self-sufficient or to provide a larger variety of crops to their diet than grocery stores offer. 

If saving money is a major motivation, you may want to consider herbs as a top priority. On a per pound basis herbs and spices are the most expensive produce items at any grocery store with many costing over $50/lb! Lettuces and other leafy greens are also great options to grow to decrease the grocery bill. Many salad ingredients (lettuce, radish, green onions) grow incredibly fast, while leafy greens like kale produce quickly and for long periods of time. 

Perhaps you are wanting to become more self-sufficient. In this case growing higher calorie crops that have the ability to be stored for prolonged periods will be a feature you look for. Excellent crops to grow for storage are potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips, turnips (I’ll save myself some time and just say basically any root crop is great for storing) and winter squashes. These crops are fantastic choices for the self-sufficientest (not sure that’s a word) as they provide energy and vital nutrients during the bitter Winter months. Other options for self-sufficiency are crops that are dried for storage. Many gardeners refrain from growing corn as ears of sweet corn are extremely affordable when in-season. However, there are many varieties of dry corn available which can be ground into corn flour for breads and tortillas. Dry beans are a necessity for any self-sufficientest (yes, it’s a thing now) as they are magnificent sources of protein. In a future post we will explore and demonstrate how squash, corn and beans are incredible crops to grow together in an intercropping system. 

Finally, perhaps one of the most popular reasons gardeners continue to grow their own food every season is the enormous variety of crops available as seeds (compared to what is available at grocery stores or even the farm market). There are over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes despite grocery stores only selling a handful. How about potatoes? Over 4,000 varieties. Those are some pretty easy to think of examples. What about broccoli? I don’t think I’ve ever seen grocery store broccoli be labeled anything other than broccoli. It is actually possible to find 40 different varieties of broccoli seeds. They come in all shapes, sizes and even colors! 

These are just a few of the most popular reasons to start a garden and things to consider when selecting the crops you want to grow. Perhaps the most important thing to consider when planning your crops is to select ones that you actually enjoy eating as this will only encourage and motivate you to grow more. 

Now that you have an idea of what crops you would like to grow you will need to consider if they are well suited for your context. Refer to the chart below for crops that grow well in the various forms of sun exposures. Note: this is not an exhaustive list, just some ideas to help you get started. 

Next you may be wondering how to procure your seeds. Springtime is a spectacular season, the snow is beginning to melt, buds are forming on the trees, the birds are returning and filling the outdoors with their beautiful songs and every garden/grocery/hardware and dollar store has their planting and gardening isles full of seeds, tools, bobs and gardening doodads. 

These stores are great places to purchase seeds though grocery, hardware and dollar stores likely won’t have the variety that garden centers do. As well, garden centers do not carry anywhere near the variety of seeds that are available through online sources. 

Each seed source has benefits and drawbacks associated with them. Local stores typically only stock the most popular varieties and depending on the location of online sources shipping and pollution costs may be high. With a little bit of research however you are likely going to be able to find a local seed producer that grows rare and diverse seeds mitigating both the drawbacks of box stores and online retailers. Being a small business that specializes in rare seeds expect to pay more or get fewer seeds for your dollar. 

Heirloom, Hybrid and GM Seeds

With the “growing” popularity of gardening (lame gardening jokes and puns will be a theme in all blogs), there are many different camps and opinions about what kind of seeds you should get for your garden. Again, your gardening goals will likely be a major determining factor when you are purchasing seeds as each type of seed (heirloom or hybrid) has a distinct set of benefits and negatives. 

First, it is important to dispel a common myth. Genetically modified seeds are not available to home gardeners. You can not purchase them at the grocery, hardware store or garden center and you can not get them through online seed suppliers. They are only available to farmers. These are crops that have had specific genetic material added to them to make them resistant to herbicides, pesticides, or to improve traits that allow them to grow in an environment that they may not have thrived in before. Why are these seeds not available to home gardeners? One major reason is that regulators want to limit the ability of GM crops to cross with native plants which could lead to an ecological disaster. Another is that adding genetics for herb- or pesticide resistance allows the farmers to spray large fields with chemicals to kill weeds more efficiently and economically. The use of these chemicals is also tightly regulated and requires certification. So, GM seeds are not available to the public.

What about heirloom and hybrid seeds? 

Heirloom seeds are ones that have been isolated from other varieties and grown for many generations until their genetics become relatively stable. The stability of these genetics means that plants grown from these seeds will produce plants and fruits that are the same as the parent plants. The main benefit of heirloom seeds is that home gardeners can save the seed, plant it next year and grow the same crop (as long as it has not crossed with another variety). 

Sometimes new gardeners will get “hybrid” seeds confused with GM seeds. They most definitely are not the same. Hybrid seeds are ones that have been selectively bred from two varieties of a crop. You will most often see “F1” after the variety type on seed packets indicating that the seeds are hybrids.  Seed breeders hand pollinate two varieties of a crop by transferring pollen from a flower on one variety to a flower on the other variety. Tomatoes are often cross pollinated this way to create hybrid seeds. Hybrids often have traits that allow the plant to taste better, improve appearance, improve hardiness, improve disease or pest resistance. There does seem to be trade offs such as growing seeds from hybrid plants will not give you the same plant as heirloom varieties do. Often people will also report that hybrid plants that are grown for improved disease/pest resistance, improved appearance or hardiness, or for better storage don’t taste as good as heirloom varieties. 

My simple suggestion for new gardeners… save seed saving for later. Grow plants that are easy, produce a lot and that you really enjoy eating. There isn’t much that is more rewarding and encouraging for new gardeners than finally getting your first harvest and enjoying fruit and vegetables picked at the peak of their ripeness. Conversely, there isn’t anything more discouraging to a new gardener than planning and caring for plants that don’t produce a great crop or that they really don’t like the taste of. 


I hope that this quick article helps to spark some thoughts for your gardens. Remember, gardening should be fun, enjoyable and relaxing. The planning phase can sometimes be overwhelming but try to stick to the basics. 1) Pick an ideal location and 2) grow what you enjoy to eat.

In the next article we will be discussing sourcing water for your garden and how to set up a rainwater collection system. Bookmark our page and check back each week for new posts. 


About the Author 

E Kelly (they/them), aka the Garden Gnome, is passionate about supporting the health of their community. While working closely with individuals in the health & fitness industry E noticed a concerning trend. Many individuals’ health concerns did not stem from a lack of knowledge, willingness or desire to eat healthier or exercise more. Instead, a growing number of health issues were correlated with a lack of access to healthy foods. Thus started E’s journey to learning more about sustainably produced foods and how to produce an abundance in small spaces.  

With a formal education in Kinesiology and years of experience growing food as a hobby, E is combining their experience and knowledge base to promote the production of local and sustainable produce.  

E is the Garden Coordinator at United Way of the City of Kawartha Lakes and Edwin Binney’s Community Garden located in Lindsay, ON.

By |2023-04-18T12:13:57-04:00April 18th, 2023|Community Gardens, Uncategorized|0 Comments

From the Ground Up: Fit to Garden

Garden season is upon us whether we are ready for it or not! Before we get right into the heavy slugging of it though we should take a few moments to check in with our bodies to make sure they are up for the tasks ahead. Gardening can be physically taxing on the body requiring individuals to have a considerable amount of endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. Gardening can be a great way to improve your health and fitness, but taking on more than you can chew (pun intended!) may lead to injury which puts the rest of your season in jeopardy. In this post we’ll cover the endurance required for gardening and a simple fitness test to assess your aerobic endurance. 

The energy needed to perform gardening tasks can be measured in terms of METs, or metabolic equivalents of tasks. Simply put, MET values are a multiple of the energy required to maintain your metabolism at rest. Gardening comes in at 4 METs meaning it is 4 times as energy consuming than rest. Activities that are similar intensities include brisk walking, cycling, raking leaves, table tennis, and badminton.  

We can use the MET value to determine if an activity such as gardening is appropriate for our current fitness level. To do this we need to know two things; 1) the oxygen consumption rate of the activity and 2) our current VO2 max (the most amount of oxygen our bodies can utilize). The former is very simple, at rest roughly 3.5 ml of oxygen is consumed per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml.kg.min), so simply multiply the MET value of the activity by 3.5 and that gives the oxygen consumption of our selected activity per minute. For example, gardening is 4 METs multiplied by 3.5 gives 14 ml.kg.min O2. Finding a true VO2 max is slightly more challenging (and should be supervised by an exercise professional) but there are indirect and lower intensity ways of calculating an estimate of our VO2 max. A simple test that can be done on your own with minimal equipment is the Rockport One Mile Walking Test. You will need a stopwatch, heartrate monitor and a flat one-mile (1609m) walking route (a 400m running track works great). Before starting the test put on your heartrate monitor and perform a light warm up by walking for 5 to 10 minutes. Once ready, start your watch and start walking the one-mile route as quickly as possible, make sure not to run or skip, one foot must be always on the ground. Once you have completed the mile stop your watch and immediately check your heart rate. Now to calculate your estimated VO2 max you can input your data into the equation below. (If you want more information on the Rockport One Mile Walking Test follow this link; Rockport Fitness Test (topendsports.com) ) 

132.853 – (0.0769 × Weight (kg)) – (0.3877 × Age) + (6.315 × Gender (1=male, 0=female) – (3.2649 × Time to complete test) – (0.1565 × Final heart rate) = VO2 max (ml.kg.min) 

Now that you know your estimated VO2 max you can determine the relative intensity of gardening to your fitness level. Divide the oxygen consumption of gardening (14 ml.kg.min) by your VO2 max and multiply by 100, which gives you a percentage value. If your value is less than 80% you are in great shape to garden as much as you see fit. If your value is greater than 80% you can still feel safe in the garden, but you may want to perform your garden tasks in smaller chunks of time (15-20 minutes) and gradually increase over the season.  

Gardening is a great way to get active and improve many aspects of health. No matter your current fitness level, make sure to start the season off easy and gradually increase as the season progresses. Rest in the shade, drink lots of water and make sure to enjoy nature around you.  

About the Author 

E Kelly (they/them) is passionate about supporting the health of their community. While working closely with individuals in the health & fitness industry E noticed a concerning trend. Many individuals’ health concerns did not stem from a lack of knowledge, willingness or desire to eat healthier or exercise more. Instead, a growing number of health issues were correlated with a lack of access to healthy foods. Thus started E’s journey in learning more about sustainably produced foods and how to produce an abundance in small spaces.  

With a formal education in Kinesiology and years of experience growing food as a hobby, E is combining their experience and knowledge base to promote the production of local and sustainable produce.  

E is the Garden Coordinator at United Way of the City of Kawartha Lakes and Edwin Binney’s Community Garden located in Lindsay, ON. 

By |2023-04-14T13:04:52-04:00April 14th, 2023|Community Gardens, Uncategorized|0 Comments
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