Healthy Kids Community Challenge, Manitoulin Island: A New Community Greenhouse Project
July 25, 2017
By Danielle Bourgault, Noojmowin Teg Health Centre, Healthy Kids Community Challenge Local Project Manager, Manitoulin Island
Heatlhy Kids Community Challenge Manitoulin is working in partnership with Manitoulin Community Fresh Food Initiative and Northern Ontario Permaculture Research Institute to bring the first community all-season greenhouse to Manitoulin Island.
The Manitoulin Community Fresh Food Initiative was initiated by the Child Poverty Task Force, a committee composed of community and organizational representatives from across the Manitoulin District. The Child Poverty Task Force group brought the Good Food Box program to the Island and initiated the “Family Garden Project” – installing gardens at families’ homes.
Healthy Kids Community Challenge Manitoulin, the Manitoulin Community Fresh Food Initiative and the Northern Ontario Permaculture Research Institute is working with 11 communities island-wide, including the 7 First Nation communities and 4 municipalities.
Northeastern Manitoulin Island Township has agreed to lease land for a community garden and an all-season educational greenhouse, for $1/ year and building of the community garden plots has begun on site.
Once it’s complete, the new all-season garden will aim to:
- Improve fresh food access by providing the foundations for islanders to grow, store and preserve at home and at the community level
- Address food insecurity by potentially reducing household food costs, alleviating some economic pressure
- See improvements in local diets and participating in gardening and other land-based activities (ie. hunting, fishing, foraging) to positively impact physical and mental health
- Assist in making connections with food physically and culturally
- Improve food literacy within the Island communities and create opportunities for island-wide food sovereignty, giving people the opportunity to choose where their food comes from
- Instilling these systems within the communities. The garden and greenhouses will belong to communities and be operated by community champions, volunteers, schools and organizations, youth and children, etc. Knowledge and skills learned from workshops and forums will remain within communities to be passed along.
Overall, this pilot project will create opportunities for community access to healthy local food options—a larger vision of the partner organizations to establish a more sustainable local food system on Manitoulin Island and establish healthy habits among children.
Thank you to Sudbury District Health Unit, Whitefish River First Nation, the Child Poverty Task Force and Manitoulin Family Resources for joining their HKCC funds together to support this initiative!
Follow our Facebook page (@HealthyKidsManitoulin) to see updates on this project. Keep an eye out for announcements of an exciting event early this fall when we will have our greenhouse grand opening celebration!