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Amending the Soil: Church of the Messiah Community Garden

Amending the Soil - Church of the Messiah Community Garden

“Amending the soil” is not a phrase I thought I’d ever repeat countless times. But at Church of the Messiah, in Toronto, we have made significant efforts to improve our soil, carrying out wheelbarrows full of gravel, garbage, and weeds, and digging in shovels full of rich organic material.

      

Improving the soil is one of the hardest jobs we undertake as urban gardeners. Access to our plots is restricted by stairs and busy streets, and high-quality organic soil has to be carried and dug in by hand. But the effort to improve our gardening soil is worth it because this is one of the most consequential chores we can do. Boosting the quality of the soil with organic material and better drainage helps everything we grow reach its strongest and most productive potential.

Holy Cross Eco Ministry Growth in the Garden

Growth in Holy Cross Garden

Light shining down from heaven on the garden at Holy Cross.

As I write this, the Holy Cross Eco Ministry nears its first anniversary, and what a blessed year it has been! Deo gratias!

Our eco team has just arrived back from watering our native pollinator garden and our vegetable gardens. Watering these gardens is often a peaceful task: admiring the growing fauna, greeting passersby, and surveying the bees and caterpillars and butterflies who have found a new happy home.

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Current Projects in Toronto

Faith & the Common Good is encouraging faith groups to explore how to serve their communities by helping vulnerable members prepare for and cope with climate induced extreme weather impacts (ex. extreme heat, ice storms, flooding). Why is this work important? Extreme weather events are no longer once-in-100-year occurrences. The Insurance Bureau of Canada reports that claim payouts from severe weather have doubled every five to ten years since the 1980s. Municipalities and traditional emergency response actors are struggling to meet the overwhelming needs of simply maintaining critical infrastructure in the face of these unprecedented stresses.  Too frequently, our most...
Find out more about Our Energy Benchmarking Program Understanding your current energy use is the first step in reducing it. Launched in 2017, our Energy Benchmarking Program is helping faith communities take practical and economical climate action by lowering their energy use and emissions.  “Energy efficiency is the fastest, cheapest, and largest single resource solution for simultaneously saving energy, saving money, and preventing GHG emissions.” – Energy Star Action Workbook for Congregations, US EPA, 2017   Interested? Here's what you need to do to participate: A) If you have already registered your faith community for our free online network go directly...
We at Faith & the Common Good believe that the environmental crisis is, at its root, not merely a crisis of pollution and extinction, but a crisis of alienation and fragmentation, a crisis of the spirit. Only when we can work together and communicate meaningfully with one another at the heart and soul level can we hope to bring about the necessary changes required to live in peace, harmony, and health. Renewing the Sacred Balance requires fundamental reconciliation with the whole Earth community.  We cannot remain silent, nor remain isolated in our actions when so much of the world is...
Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) is our longest-running program. A practical program, GSS assists faith communities with both the educational and spiritual dimensions of greening as well as the “how to” side of audits, retrofits, and generally reducing a faith community’s footprint. We have developed a number of resources to help faith groups become community leaders in working towards a more sustainable future for all. Click on the links below to find out more about our: videos and webinars, case studies, posters, guides, tip sheets, building audits, energy benchmarking, certification, awards  Visit your local chapter page or contact your local animator...

Resources

Native Plant Garden Guide

Native Plant Garden GuideNew in 2018! 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)

Extreme Weather Toolkit

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This Extreme Weather Tool Kit will help your faith group think through the essential components of an extreme weather response plan. It is tailored for faith groups in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who want to support their most vulnerable community members to better withstand extreme weather emergencies.

 Download PDF (3.5 MB)

Community Garden Presentation

Community Gardens ppt

This pdf document is a presentation for use with your faith community or garden team to kickstart or support your community garden program. It is a companion to the Edible Community Garden Guide.

 Download presentation (4.5 MB)

 Download one-page gardening group facilitation sheet (258 kB)

Community Garden Guide

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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.

Extreme Weather Resilience Case Studies

Solar Case Studies

The Neighbourhood Extreme Weather Resilience pilot project, completed in 2015, explored how Toronto’s diverse faith communities could be better utilized as local service centres to help vulnerable populations during extreme weather emergencies. These case studies give a sense of the potential of this work by providing a snapshot of the action plans and community partner engagement at each of the project’s faith pilot sites.

 Download PDF (4.05 MB)

The Green Rule Poster

The Green Rule

Faith & the Common Good derived the Green Rule poster from the classic Golden Rule found in major faith traditions.

“Do unto the Earth as you would have it do unto you.”

Each Green Rule was chosen from the great texts of the world’s major religions and spiritual philosophies. The texts all acknowledge the natural world as an essential phenomenon through which we may better come to know the divine and our oneness with it.

The Green Rule poster is approximately 22" x 28".

Order the Green Rule Poster ($15 folded; $20 rolled ON/QC; $25 Canada)

For bulk sales and international orders, email resources@faithcommongood.org to ask for a quote *before* placing order.

See also:

Green Rule study guide (orderable with poster)

How to use the Green Rule (PDF download)

Thank you to our Funders 

Green Awakening Network

Connect With Us

Toronto Animator:
Donna Lang
Email:
dlang@faithcommongood.org
Phone: (416) 481-1327

Please contact Donna Lang, Greening Sacred Spaces Toronto Animator, for more information, to get involved, or to request a presentation at your faith community.

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