OOE Community Garden

Displaying 2014Dec Photo Community Garden.jpg

Lees Community Gardeners Ken Woodley, left, Kristal Harding, centre watch as Ian Detta collects dried radish seeds for planting next spring. Community gardeners throughout Ottawa used the fine fall weather to prepare their gardens for the winter. Photo by Bob Whitelaw

The Old Ottawa East Community Garden had a banner year in its new location at Saint Paul University. The gardens were so abundant that gardeners were able to share with friends.

The impact that garden-grown fresh food can have on people who usually have no access to it is reflected in a letter Garden organizers received from the Emergency Centretown Food Centre, a food bank supported by the Old Ottawa East community through a team of gardeners and an allotment.

“Dear Linda and other Gardening Angels,

I want to thank you for the gifts of fresh produce that you and your team grew and donated to the Centretown Emergency Food Centre. Although we purchase produce and fresh fruit for our client base, it does not fully cover their needs and that is why these donations are so important to us.

I would like you to share a story about the impact your donations have had.

For years we have worked with a difficult client. He is a very intimidating man. Not only is he physically intimidating, but in all the years we have served him, he has never smiled or showed any emotion.

Over the years we have tried to build a rapport with him and failed. We have come to realize that he suffers from several mental illnesses that cause him to mistrust people. He hears voices and thinks people are following him.

He was in one day, when you had given us some fresh beets. When he realized we had these beets, he became very animated and excited, telling us he was going to go home to make borscht soup. For once, we felt we had made some positive progress with him.

The next day he showed up at my office door and handed me a jar of the soup he had made. He had a huge smile on his face and told me that he had made this for me and wanted me to try it. He also gave me a hand-written recipe (some of it did not make any sense) for the soup so we could share it with other clients. He said that it was the first time in years that he had made this soup and that it reminded him of home. He was still smiling when he left.

My first thought was that the gift he made me was priceless. To receive a gift from someone who has nothing is a true gift. My second thought was that he was smiling. That made me realize that with your help we had finally had a positive breakthrough with him. This gentleman was in again since then. He came right up to me and asked me how I had liked the soup. He was smiling and talkative.

Thank you for the all the food you donate, but I really thank you for the beets. You touched someone’s life in a way that you would never know and have opened the door for us to help someone in a way that will enhance his life.

Respectfully yours,


Kerry Kaiser


Centretown Emergency Food Centre, the main project of the

Centretown Church Social Action Committee.”

Filed in: Front Page

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