More Than Just a Community Garden

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old-barn-sunflowersThe Green and Gold Community Garden initiative is a creative revamping of the community garden model. It tackles issues of food sovereignty, human rights, HIV/AIDS and trauma counseling, and gender equality through its meaningful partnership with the Tubahumurize Association in Rwanda.

The project is part of the University of Alberta’s agricultural farm. Entering the garden, it is hard to believe that you are in the middle of a city as climbing beans and towering sunflowers surround you. The produce is eclectic thanks to donations of seeds and plants. The garden is approximately two acres and is managed by close to seventy volunteers.

The Green and Gold Community Garden is an interdisciplinary venture sponsored by the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health and the Faculty of Agricultural, Life, and Environmental Sciences. The garden’s produce, including vegetables, herbs, and flowers, is sold through a bi-weekly on-site market. All proceeds are donated to the Tubahumurize Association in Rwanda

 

The Tubahumurize Association

 

garlic-planting-Sept-15The Tubahumurize Association provides support for women who have experienced violence, including domestic violence and trauma resulting from the Rwandan genocide. The organization offers social and economic support for marginalized women and focuses on genocide survivors, women who are HIV/AIDS positive, women who have experienced gender-based violence, single mothers, grandmothers and widows.

Twenty-one years after the genocide, Rwanda is still struggling with a generation of children born to mothers who were brutally raped.  These children born of violence are increasingly in need of assistance. Tubahumurize also holds a number of education programs, including teaching women to sew.

The Green and Gold sells items they produce, like bags, tablecloths, napkins and baskets.

 

Local Benefits

 

carrots-2011The Green and Gold Garden provides financial assistance to overseas programs, but also works in its own community. The project is part of the Sustainable Food Edmonton initiative. As part of this initiative, it provides a local food source, which helps reduce the environmental cost of food transportation.

Volunteers have the opportunity to learn gardening skills, and the project increases gardening awareness and encourages local urban farming. In an urban community where there is a large disconnection between people and their food sources, this knowledge can be revolutionary.

The Green and Gold Community Garden is based upon the principles of global citizenship. It helps women and families in Rwanda and furthers sustainable food choices at the local level in Edmonton, Alberta. It creates connections between local food sources and the empowerment of women while strengthening the bonds of interconnectedness that define positive global citizenship. It recognizes local needs while helping development initiatives for women in Rwanda.

 

 

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Ellen Parsons

Ellen Parsons

Ellen is student researcher hailing from Edmonton, Alberta.

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