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Community Garden opens in Tottenham

September 14, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek


The Tottenham Community Garden, founded by Michael Cook, celebrated its grand opening at Hillside Community Church on Sunday, September 9.

The event was attended by members of Council and the general public, with hot dogs, desserts, music and local MacKenzie cooler corn for all.

A raffle was also held – featuring gift cards for local restaurants, and a six-month fitness pass – with all monies raised (more than $400) back into the Tottenham Community Garden, for improvements and continued development next season.

Non-perishable food items were also collected for the Our Town Food Bank (serving roughly 100 families monthly throughout Tottenham and Beeton), and My Sister’s Place, the local women and children’s shelter in Alliston – both of which will also benefit from the bounty of the Tottenham Community Garden harvest.

Cook, a members of the Tottenham Old-Timers Baseball League, said he started the garden on the advice of a friend.

“I had my own garden at home already, and a friend told me about the garden space at Hillside Community Church and I decided to start looking into it,” Cook told The Times. “Thank you very much to Hillside Community Church for generously for allowing me to use their property.”

The garden had been a former volleyball court used by the church, with a small vegetable patch.

Cook, a carpenter and chef, started by getting a load of dirt and a rototiller, and gathering any materials that could be of use – such as lumber for garden walls, and manure from local farmers – to start his project.

The Tottenham Community Garden took shape in 2017, with additions to the harvest added annually. This year, Cook has grown: Swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, beets, potatoes, Brussel sprouts, green onions, watermelon, butternut squash, red and yellow peppers, zucchini, cucumber, red onion, green and yellow beans, sunflowers, garlic, asparagus and more.

Although the garden’s name might suggest Cook is renting or lending community gardening space, he is not. The full crop is used to feed the less fortunate in the area, and Cook is the sole gardener (with occasional help from his grandchildren, of course!).

“The garden is going to be bigger and better next year, and I’ll keep switching up what I grow,” said Cook. “I’m just trying to make things better for everyone.”


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