PACT URBAN PEACE PROGRAM, TORONTO
  • Grow-to-Learn School Gardens

Hands on, living classrooms for students, teachers and community volunteers in three Toronto school gardens

The PACT Grow-to-Learn (GTL) Schoolyard Gardening Program teaches schools and communities about food and gardening. The program creates safe, experiential and positive learning environments in low-income neighbourhoods, as well as acts as a catalyst in raising awareness of important issues related to healthy eating/nutrition, food security, environmental sustainability and hunger in our schools and local communities.

Get your class involved in the garden! Click here for PACT-led curriculum workshops, lessons and garden activities for students in grades 1-12.

Over the past six years, PACT has partnered with the TDSB and TCDSB to expand its Grow-to-Learn program to meet community need; creating and transforming unused, often grey spaces into bountiful organic gardens where children and youth learn about harvesting food, sustainability and community building.

David Wilson Memorial Garden
at John Polanyi CI
640 Lawrence Ave. W at Allen Rd. (MAP)

Garden Manager: Agata Gidzinski
Volunteer Days: Tues and Thurs 9am-6pm
polanyigarden@pactprogram.ca

Thistletown Collegiate CI
20 Fordwich Cres. at Islington (MAP)

Garden Manager: Lianne O’Keefe
Volunteer Days: Daily from about 9am-4pm
tcigarden@pactprogram.ca

Elmbank Junior Middle Academy
10 Pittsboro Dr. (MAP)

Garden Manager: Kaila Clarke-Mendes
Volunteer Days: Wed & Thurs 12-5pm
elmbankgarden@pactprogram.ca

SHOP GROW-TO-LEARN
Fresh | Organic | Locally Grown
2017 Dates Coming Soon
Volunteer! Email gtlvolunteers@pactprogram.ca
or call Bev 416-931-6797

Connecting Communities, Transforming Lives

The PACT gardens have a profound and positive impact on thousands of students and staff each year, connecting them directly to the wonders of the natural world and environment. As students observe and participate in the entire growing cycle from seedlings to harvest, they learn first hand about important issues related to the environment and that impact their entire community. They also truly experience compassion and empathy through the gift of giving by delivering fresh organic produce to local food banks and food/culinary programs for youth supporting those less fortunate within our communities.

The GTL gardens also provide community hubs for like-minded volunteers to get together, get their hands dirty and support the community, as well as providing paid internships for students/at-risk youth and practicum placements for college/university students during the summer months; not to mention the natural beautification the gardens bring to many of the somewhat grey and blighted neighbourhoods in which they are located. Each garden is truly an oasis and a gift to the community in so many ways attracting birds, butterflies and other pollinators.

For more information about the PACT Grow-to-Learn Schoolyard Gardening program or to make a referral, please contact Ben Marshall at 416-656-8824 or ben@pactprogram.ca

SCHOOL FIELD TRIPS, WORKSHOPS & GARDEN TOURS

30+ workshops for grades 9-12 | Hands-on lessons for grades 1-8 | Half-day field trips | Outdoor kitchen & seating

CLICK HERE FOR ALL GARDEN ACTIVITIES & WORKSHOPS

Grow-to-Learn Schoolyard Garden Highlights

OUTDOOR KITCHEN & CLASSROOM
Our JPCI garden has a covered outdoor kitchen and seating area for groups complete with a cob oven, rocket stove, compost toilet and sink.

Each year, the gardens produce an astounding 20,000+ pounds of organic fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers – most of which is exchanged with community volunteers, donated to local food banks, used for culinary programs in the schools or sold at local farmer’s markets with the proceeds going back into the program.
cherrytree
  There are over 100 fruit trees & bushes at all three gardens, as well as over two acres of organic produce, herbs and pollinator plants.
compost
A Community Compost Exchange program at our David Wilson Memorial Garden at John Polanyi CI (JPCI) turns kitchen waste into nutrient-rich compost. Local families are encouraged to trade in kitchen scraps for fresh, organic produce. Weekly community garden markets and community dinners bring people together to share stories and a meal, plus leave with a full bag of veggies.
market-sauerkraut
Students in partnering school culinary programs learn to store, prepare and cook with the bounty of the gardens. The LCI garden hosts sauerkraut workshops and also produces pickles, fermented beans and braided garlic.
Youth volunteer in the gardens, often accumulating community service hours, through after school Eco-Clubs, co-op placements, court-referrals and summer student programs. Get in touch to learn more about volunteering in the garden, Garden Summer Camps and the Community Compost Exchange.

Keep up-to-date with all the amazing things growing in our gardens pactgrow2learn.blogspot.ca