Thursday, 30 May 2013

This, That and the Other

A few updates from Mission Control:

1) The Community Garden proposal was approved by City Council! We are just waiting to find out where the garden will be. Very soon we will be organizing a public meeting to raise awareness, share design options, and start signing up volunteers for construction.

2) We desperately need one or more volunteers with experience (personal or professional) in landscaping or construction to join the garden committee for this season. Your role would be to advise the group on design and materials, and to supervise the construction days during the summer (building raised beds, fencing, etc). Please email us at if you're interested in helping out. Did I say desperately yet?

3) We're going to start posting regular articles with gardening tips and ideas. If you have anything to share, or if there's anything you'd like to learn more about, please let us know!

Monday, 6 May 2013

One Step Closer!

Exhale everybody: we have received word that General Committee approved the community garden report at today's meeting! For those of you (ahem, us) who have no idea what General Committee means, "General Committee is comprised of all members of Council to consider matters relating to City-owned land and buildings; budget; policy administration and legal matters; by-laws and licenses; recreation and culture, fire and emergency services, the environment, parks, water, waste management, and roads. Recommendations made by General Committee are forwarded to Council for adoption" (from the City of Markham website). That is the next step. Next week, the report -- including the designation of the Cornell Community Garden as a pilot project -- will go to Council for final approval. 
In the meantime, staff from the Sustainability Branch will be setting up a meeting soon to review potential sites for the garden. Getting this information will be huge, because once we know the site we can begin preparations in earnest, including finalizing a design (we have a couple in the works, which we will be sharing soon for feedback!). 
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and/or wrote in to City Council. We have been heard.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

The More the Merrier

With the community garden being discussed at City Council on May 6, we need as many voices in our corner as possible. If you support creating a community garden in Cornell, please

1) sign the petition at
2) write an email to the City Clerk at These emails will be read to council at the beginning of the meeting. 

Friday, 3 May 2013

The Politics of Gardening

We are fortunate, as residents of Markham, to live in a city that is trying to proactively support environmental initiatives and plan for a sustainable future. We are unfortunate, as a committee, to have begun our planning just as the City was beginning to develop a broad framework for community gardens, a framework that must be approved before they can grant us use of city-owned land. This process has at times been frustrating, simply because we are so manically keen to get things off the ground (and in the ground) now, now, NOW! Ultimately, though, the framework will not only provide us with the land on which to grow but also help ensure we are the first of many successful shared gardens in Markham.

The good news is that the community and allotment garden pilot project (of which our garden would be part) is officially on the City Council agenda for Monday, May 6. It is the last item of the day, but anyone who would like to attend and speak on the subject can do so at 9 a.m. when the meeting starts.

The full agenda and information on how to listen live online as well as how to make a deputation (speak to the committee) are available on the City of Markham website