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Friday, April 13, 2012

The SHALOM in our Garden Project

Most people know the word 'Shalom'. It is typically translated as 'hello', 'good-bye' and 'peace'. It's arabic equivalent is pronounced 'Salaam' and has the same typical translations.

When we founded the Shalom Teaching Garden in Churchill Park two summers ago we were a small group of educators and community leaders who wanted to make better use of a scrubby corner of the park that nestled up against the back perimeter fence of Temple Anshe Sholom. Yes, Sholom is the germanic spelling of that same word.

Members of Temple Anshe Sholom were keen to enter into the environmental movement with a hands on project where we could, literally, get our hands dirty alongside of our young people. The Kehila Jewish Community Day School, that rents our building and fills it with exciting learning and exuberant young people during the school year, was also keen to enjoy this project. We approached George R. Allan School right next door for more interest and volunteers. Over the summers we have been growing in the park, neighbours have come to visit and ask questions. Park recreational 'suppies' have brought children over to watch and help with planting. All of our visitors have enjoyed the lawn labyrinth we mowed in our space.

It would not have happened without the help and support of Brian McHattie who connected us with the correct city departments, helped us through signing a lease with the city and RBG who steward the park land we work on. The work continues this season. We have plans for a three sister's garden, an herb spiral, star garden of sages, and of course our signature strawbale veggie garden.

We'd love your help. Aside from the typical translations of the word 'SHALOM', the root of this semitic word is WHOLENESS. If you love gardens and gardening and want to support garden education please get in touch. Our team won't have wholeness without you and we welcome your participation!