Are you planning to green your sacred outdoor space? Perhaps you are looking for ways to conserve water, or how to begin a pollinator garden? This page has guides and resources with practical tips to get you started.
Scroll down to learn more about what faith communities are doing and ways to get involved!
Start a community garden! Help provide space for local, healthy food by creating community garden plots on your faith property. It’s a way to show your faith in action through outreach to the community, and can be combined with other programs and community engagement such as seed-saving and seed-swap events, contributions to your local food bank, hosting local food or 100 mile dinners… Continue Reading
Pollinators are critical for biodiversity and food security; they are also often a powerful symbol of rebirth and spirituality. Adding a pollinator garden to your faith property combines beautification, community outreach, and ecological support for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. They need our help; pollinator populations are in decline… Continue Reading
Your congregation can contribute to your local community and the climate by planting native trees on your personal or place of worship property, or by participating in local community tree-planting events.Many regions have local initiatives for tree-planting.Here are a few programs we have heard about… Continue Reading
Native Plant Garden Guide
This guidebook is designed to help faith communities plan and maintain a successful native plant community garden. It was created by our Greening Sacred Spaces Toronto Chapter in 2018 with the assistance of the North American Native Plant Society.
Download PDF (2.7 MB)
In Harmony with Nature: Faith communities have a role in uplifting biodiversity
Nature popping! Outdoor Greening Sacred Spaces Fact Sheets
Gardens Built by Love: Faith-Based Community Gardens
Growing food, growing community.
This research examines the enabling conditions and reported impacts of community gardens hosted by faith communities. Community gardens are one way for faith communities to demonstrate good stewardship of their land and contribute to local food security. In the context of declining membership and financial hardship, faith communities might be concerned about their capacity to take on such a project. Through semi-structured interviews, participant observations, and document review, ten Canadian faith-based community gardens were studied to identify
factors contributing to their success. The results highlight that community gardens and faith communities are mutually beneficial. Faith communities can provide many prerequisites for community garden development, and the presence of a community garden provides exposure and neighbourhood connections for the faith community. Based on participants’ experiences and the existing literature, recommendations are made regarding best practices for faith communities considering community garden projects, with particular emphasis on sustainable leadership structure.
Gardens Built by Love: Faith-Based Community Gardens, by Karla Winham, 2021.
Faith & the Common Good
DOWNLOAD RESOURCE HERE.
2020 Winter Webinar Series - The Birds and Bees of Sustainable Gardening
This Outdoor Greening webinar series provided information about how to support the birds, bees and other wildlife on your property. Native birds and bees benefit from simple and easy changes that we can make to our gardens. Providing more “habitat” supports these important species that help strengthen the resiliency of our local ecological systems and also provides many personal benefits to us including mental health and spiritual joy. Discussions included:
- The reasons why we should be supporting local birds and the bees on our faith community property and the benefits of a more sustainable and ecological landscape;
- How our prayer, meditation, community food and/or sacred space gardens can attract more birds and bees through easy enhancements and simple changes to maintenance techniques;
- Highlights of local Ottawa programs and resources that can support both your home and faith community garden (including signage that will let your neighbours know about your efforts!).
Webinar videos available here
We would like to thank TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for providing funding to Faith & the Common Good.
Sacred Green Spaces: Taking a Look at Your Property in a Whole New Way!
Outdoor Greening Fact Sheets
Let your sacred space be an example for your Care for Creation mission! Learn about sustainable practices for water and energy including xeriscaping, rain gardens, and waterwise strategies in the new Outdoor Greening Fact Sheets.
To support the Faith & the Common Good Outdoor Greening program and the Ottawa Interfaith Sustainable Garden Network program, the following Fact Sheets have been created. Within these resources you will be able to read about the possibilities of turning a section of your faith community property into an ecological haven for wildlife including pollinators such as insects and birds. Get to know more about the benefits of planting native species of grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees for your new meditation or prayer garden or in your memorial grounds. A special thanks to our funders the Ottawa Community Foundation and the City of Ottawa (CEPGP) for supporting the creation of these local resources!
These Outdoor Greening Fact Sheets & Primer are available both as ONE BOOKLET (choose the link below "Set of 10 Fact Sheets with Primer") or they can be downloaded INDIVIDUALLY if you only want a few specific fact sheets or the Primer.
We recommend you download the BOOKLET (which includes the PRIMER) unless you only want a few fact sheets. Each individual fact sheet must be downloaded separately - so this may take some time.
Download fact sheets
Download options are:
- Set of 10 fact sheets (with primer)
- Individual fact sheets (download each separately):
- 1. Sustainable Lawns, Groundcovers and Alternatives
- 2. Landscaping for energy-savings
- 3. Stormwater Management
- 4. Water Conservation and Drought-tolerant Landscaping
- 5. Hedgerows
- 6. Choosing and planting Native Trees & Shrubs
- 7. Wildlife-friendly Garden
- 8. Bird-friendly Garden
- 9. Urban Meadows
- 10. Special Purpose Gardens: Healing, Meditation, Medicine Wheel, Labyrinth Gardens
Outdoor Greening Case Studies
Read how other faith communities are expanding their mission outdoors through various gardens including xeriscape, labyrinth, pollinator, sacred medicine wheel, and wildflower gardens.
To support the Faith & the Common Good Outdoor Greening program and the Ottawa Interfaith Sustainable Garden Network program, the following case studies have been created. Within these resources you will find examples of both larger suburban projects along with small urban sites including sidewalks. Some gardens were initiated with very little money, while others sought out grants and other financial support. Find out how your garden team can do the same with a review of our case studies that include lessons learned and keys to success! A special thanks to our funders the Ottawa Community Foundation and the City of Ottawa (CEPGP) and all the faith communities who shared their stories, photos, and enthusiasm for their Care for Creation outdoor projects with us!
These Outdoor Greening Case Studies are available both as ONE BOOKLET (see final link below "All 10 Outdoor Greening Case Studies") or they can be downloaded INDIVIDUALLY if you only want a few specific case studies.
We recommend you download the BOOKLET (which is the last pdf file below) unless you only want a few. Each individual case study must be downloaded separately - so this may take some time. If you do want the set of 10 individual case studies please contact Katherine Forster and she can send you the set (phone: 1-866-231-1877 x 107, email: [email protected]).
Kitchissippi United Church - Depave Project
Kitchissippi United Church transformed a grey asphalt courtyard into a green lush entranceway that parishioners and building tenants benefit from and enjoy. Green landscapes can help soak up rainwater and lessen the burden of local storm water and sewer systems while also cooling down microclimates that add to the heat island effect of cities…
Download PDF (2.5 MB)
Trinity Presbyterian Church (Kanata) - Pollinator Garden
The Trinity Presbyterian pollinator garden in Kanata is home to native plants that provide nectar and pollen to beneficial insects and birds. Native pollinators are an essential component to the ecology of plants, ensuring that flowers are fertilized and food can grow. Supporting a variety of pollinators promotes a strong, biodiverse local ecosystem…
Download PDF (3.5 MB)
Trinity United Church – Wildflower Garden
Trinity United Church’s wildflower garden initially conceived by their Church in Society Committee, was installed in the back lawn of the faith community’s property and has evolved over time.time. Native wildflowers are better able to survive local conditions including temperatures and drought and require less maintenance including pesticides than their more exotic counterparts…
Download PDF (2.5 MB)
First Unitarian – Meditation Garden
The First Unitarian Meditation Gardens have been designed and maintained by the First Unitarian church over the past twenty years for the benefit of all groups on the sixacre campus plus visitors from the entire city. It was designed to be an urban oasis for “relaxation, restoration, observation and meditation”…
Download PDF (3.0 MB)
Centretown United Church – Sidewalk Community Garden
At Centretown United Church, raised sidewalk planters that held trees for more than 30 years have been transformed by the installation of a community garden. Something valuable has been created from the derelict empty planters for the church, the community and for Centre 507, a downtown Drop-In…
Download PDF (1.95 MB)
St. Luke's Anglican – Sidewalk Community Garden
Empty spaces that had once held city shade trees for more than 30 years have been transformed by St. Luke’s Parish through the installation of gardens to grow fresh produce for the local St. Luke’s Table meal program. These gardens are now a valuable community asset and have brought back to life a…
Download PDF (1.8 MB)
The Anglican Parish of March_St. John's Church_Outdoor Labyrinth
St John’s Church in Kanata provides an outdoor meditation experience for both its congregation and the larger neighbourhood community with their labyrinth garden. An outdoor labyrinth is a versatile addition to a faith community. A labyrinth walk is a spiritual and meditative tool that can be used for various purposes. It’s also a pleasant and unique landscape design that…
Download PDF (3.2 MB)
Glebe St. James United Church – Medicine Wheel
The Glebe-St. James United Church Sacred Medicine Wheel garden is a visible sign of the faith community’s allyship with First Nation communities. A Medicine Wheel garden represents the cycles of nature and is grown for medicinal purposes and harvested to be used as peace offerings. The First Nation relationship with…
Download PDF (2.8 MB)
Knox United Church – Community Garden
With a large expanse of lawn, support from the City of Ottawa’s Community Garden Network Fund and a generous bequest, Knox United Church has created a wonderful local gardening space that is open to both congregants and community members. Community gardens such as these allow people to grow local healthy fresh produce that doesn’t have to…
Download PDF (1.15 MB)
Special Faith Community & Cultural Gardens
This case study shares some of the details of three other special faith community and cultural gardens found in Ottawa. They are an inspiration for their ingenuity, community spirit and cultural significance. Each has a unique focus and approach and have been successful in gathering local support and volunteer dedication…
Download PDF (2.98 MB)
ALL 10 OUTDOOR GREENING CASE STUDIES
Community Garden Presentation
Community Garden Guide
Greening Sacred Spaces has developed a community garden guide for faith communities creating a community food garden. This comprehensive how-to guide includes information on:
- setting up a garden
- forming a volunteer team
- planting a garden, including depth and drainage, organic matter, container gardening, rooftop gardening, tools, and other options
- maintaining a garden – weeding, watering, and pest control tips
- harvesting the garden – picking, monitoring, and chronicling the crop, freezing and fermenting, storing and replenishing soil
- a garden resource list
Download PDF (1.8 MB)
See also the companion Community Garden Presentation.