Growing Vegetables and re-using rainwater in the Black Creek Neighbourhood

by Adriana Gomez
Special to the Advocate
As part of the Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan (SNAP), the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), in collaboration with the Green Change Centre (JFCFC), is asking residents in the Black Creek Neighbourhood to provide input for the design of an Eco-edible Garden Program for single-family homes.
This program has two main objectives:  to enhance local food production and to manage rain water in a sustainable manner.
The design of the program is still at an early stage, but it is anticipated to have two major components.
Two to five homes will be selected in the neighbourhood, based on the quality and the beauty of their vegetable gardens.
These homes will be recognized with free products and services valued at up to $1,500.  A garden expert will work with selected homeowners to help them decide how to enhance their garden, and all the work will be done by them.  
Participants must be collecting rainwater to water their plants, or must be willing to install a rain barrel.  They must have their downspouts disconnected or must be willing to disconnect them in the short term.  
Finally, they must be willing to showcase their garden in a vegetable garden tour to be held next year. The purpose of the tour is to get other residents in the neighbourhood inspired to implement sound gardening practices at their front and backyards.  
The funding for this project is expected to come from private businesses sponsorship.
If you have a nice vegetable garden, and you would like to receive more information about this great opportunity, you may contact Adriana Gomez, at 416-661 600, or at
Final terms and conditions of this grant program will be announced at the program launch.
Recommendations received from the community throughout the spring will be the basis to design this exciting program. 
The program is aimed at helping residents from single-family homes in the neighbourhood, to create or enhance their vegetable gardens, while implementing sustainable practices. 
One of the key practices that is being encouraged is the collection and re-use of rainwater to water the plants. Some of the options that are being considered include offering how-to assistance, financial incentives, or hands-on help with the garden.
About SNAP:
The Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan (SNAP) is an innovative pilot program led by Toronto and Region Conservation in collaboration with regional, municipal and community partners. In partnership with local stakeholders including residents, businesses, local groups and institutions, the project seeks to develop action plans to improve the local environment on the neighbourhood scale and build resiliency against climate change by greening local infrastructure and encouraging positive behavior changes among residents.
You can find more information about SNAP at
-Adriana Gomez is the Project Manager, Watershed Planning Ecology Division for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).