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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Four Years of Learning to Love the Earth

Our teaching garden is waking up and we are hoping for another wonderful season of vegetable and herbs, learning and discovery.
We cannot embark on our fourth year of growing without the support of people like you!
This year the STG needs:

1. Four cubic yards of growing soil ($129 each)

2. Twenty-four bags of composted manure ($240 total)

3. Seedlings (basils, squash, beans, peas, carrots, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, assorted herbs and more)
 (any amount)
4. Lumber to create two large raised beds ($200 total)
5. A new Shovel, Steel Rake and Hoe  ($150)
6. Contributions towards a Permanent Labyrinth (any amount)

If you can help with any of our garden wish list items this season, the Temple Office can issue you a tax receipt for your donation. We will acknowledge your gift formally in the summer issue of the Temple Bulletin. You can also honour a loved one through your donation to the Shalom Teaching Garden.

To volunteer for summer watering and weeding please email
Thank you for contributing to growth, learning and food to share. Our young people benefit tremendously from learning about where food comes from and how it grows!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Services in the Garden

 One of our favourite services of the year is Kabbalat Shabbat in the Shalom Teaching Garden. We schedule two of these services over the summer. Our first one, in July, was rained out so we gathering in a large circle in the Frank Auditorium for what proved to be a very memorable and meaningful service. On August 24, the weather cooperated and we congregated beside our garden in the lovely Churchill Park behind the Temple and enjoyed the warmth, the sunset and the Kavanah of praying outdoors with our Temple family.                                                

Many friends came out to enjoy this service and sing along with Jonny on guitar and Paula leading the prayers. Rabbi Jordan told a beautiful story and we all enjoyed a potluck dinner, picnic style as the sun set on this glorious Shabbat evening.

Here's to many more services in the Shalom Teaching Garden!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Garden Visitor

Our Shalom Garden waterers snapped this visitor to the garden. You never know what critters will show up at the garden! This is a Spicebush Swallowtail...nice find!

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!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Garden Friends

The Eyed Elater is a wonderful garden friend recently seen at the
Shalom Teaching Garden. The 'click bug' has false eyes to confuse predators and the ability to flex the elongated shield on its back in such a way that it produces a loud click and creates a force that propells the bug several inches away from the spot it was sitting.
These facts would make the Eyed Elator an entertaining friend, but the click bug is a great help in the garden because it eats large amounts of aphids and larvae that would munch away our garden plants. We were very happy to see that the click bug has made the Shalom Teaching Garden it's home!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garden Hero

One of the joys of a teaching garden is the impact it has on young people. Many of the lessons in the garden are planned, but just as many happen in surprising and unexpected ways.

This past weekend our Shalom Teaching Garden was vandalized. The beautiful Star of David bed had most of its gorgeous strawberries, basil and lush herbs ripped out and strewn about the park. It was a harsh reminder on Monday morning that not all people are as willing to embrace and care for the garden's potential.

I walked my kindergarten students out at morning recess and they helped me search for and retrieve missing plants. Like mini-CSI partners they tried to imagine what happened and why anyone would harm a garden in a park...especially one they worked hard to create, build and plant in. Why would someone with footprints that big do something so mean? One student placed her hand on my shoulder as I was replanting a wilted strawberry plant and said "I feel so bad because I know how hard you worked on the garden". If only her incredible five year old compassion could be shared with the perpetrators.

Later today I had a phone text from a parent who's son (grinning ear to ear in the above picture) was struggling after school to make sense of the senseless. It was he who during the earnest but ultimately fruitless search for the remaining plants stated "well, maybe they needed the plant more than we did". Again....Wow...wisdom and compassion in the garden from a recently turned five year old. This same little guy and his mom took the above picture for me at a local nursery where they went after school today to purchase replacement plants for the Star of David garden bed.'s supposed to be a secret. Tomorrow morning when he scampers in with these beauties it will be hard not to weep with pride! As usual the student has become the teacher.