A church and a school work on bringing people together with a community garden


by Ama Twumwaa

Advocate Contributor The University Presbyterian Church (UPC) in partnership with Driftwood Public School worked together to break a negative stereotype of the Jane and Finch community.Grade 5 students together with their teachers spent the day on the UPC grounds where they planted several species of nutritious vegetables, watered plants and painted some positive words like 'Peace, love and equity,' to decorate the garden.The students planted seeds like tomatoes, beans and peppers, and learned about the importance of growing your own food.The idea to start the Driftwood community garden, and to grow plants and vegetables for sale came after a brainstorming session on how to raise funds for UPC's Reaching Up after school tutoring program.In order to turn the brainstorming into reality, Cecile Huxtable, coordinator of the Reaching Up homework program formed a partnership with environmental organizations such as Live Green Toronto and the Toronto and Regional Conservation Authority's Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan (SNAP)."My heart is overwhelmed at what we can do when we come together as a community," Huxtable said.The project also received support from Anthony Perruzza, our local city councillor, who said that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication in order to build a project like this."Things don't just magically happen," Perruzza said, adding that we need people like Huxtable to inspire us to help the community.Sheri Alcordo, a teacher at Driftwood Public School for 18 years also said that the program teaches the students about the importance of the garden in helping to build a stronger community.Alcordo added that the students were well received when they wrote to the Home Depot and councillor Perruzza about the project.In response, the Home Depot donated garden tools, and Perruzza donated garden boxes.At the end of the day, Driftwood students presented Cecile with a painting they created in order to thank her for all the work that she did in the community.