Food for the Soul

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“Who would like the possibility of making a contribution to their lives?” 

This was a question asked to The Youth at Freedom Centre International (FCI) and the student body of the School of Ministry Toronto (SOM). Many students took on being part of making a difference and really got into the concept of providing quality fresh produce locally. Thus helping the global effort with an abundance of wholesome foods and healthy eating.

It is about planting a seed in someone’s mind and allowing growth to happen. To call those around you to make a difference and working as a “Team”. To create a framework by connecting the contributors, to enroll volunteers to live a dream, to declare it, to let it duplicate and to see it expand as God allows. It is this concept that made it all happen.

Sondra Burton - Food Services Manager at the Toronto School Of Ministry, who believes in local sustainability, welcomed the opportunity to receive fresh produce. Fresh produce would help in many ways, one being to deliver quality food to the students of School of Ministry. Sondra helped the team answer many questions such as: What should we plant? What do we preserve? What do we cook? How do we plan for the future spring and fall gardens? What herbs should be planted? Sondra states “I love the idea of having fresh produce. You can taste the difference. I would love to support the local economy by purchasing locally, and this initiative is the first step in achieving that goal”.

Today; The Freedom Centre Community Gardens are located on the beautiful 18 acre setting of Freedom Centre International (Bronte Road just north of 407). It collaborates with the local food banks at Kerr Street Ministries in order to:

Provide a place for people of diverse abilities, ages and cultures who share the common interest of gardenning to meet

Provide healthy produce for local food banks as well as families in need of nutritious food

When approached by Alison Murchie – Founder of Food For The Souls, the Freedom Centre Leadership Team agreed to donate the use of 2 plots to grow and provide fresh produce for the Toronto School of Ministry. The concept being that current SOM students and faculty along-side the FCI Families to create will maintain and harvest the gardens.

Who Donated?

The “Team” enrolled local growers, Home Depot & Vern’s Water Service donated all the plants, seeds, equipment and water for the garden. A special thank you to the following corporations for their contributions:

Hilltop Blooms, Lynden, Ontario

Home Depot, Cross Street, Oakville, Ontario

Stokes Seeds, St. Catherines, Ontario

William Dam Seeds, Flamborough Ontario

Vern’s Water Services, Campbellville, Ontario 

Our Gardening Angels (Volunteer Update)

Our volunteers are our biggest assets, and we like to honour those who help! Without the hearts and time of those who contribute we would not be as successful as we are today!

Planting Team – Completed by SOM students, SOM Faculty, FCI Leadership Team, FCI Families

Signage Development – Mike Hilker, a local high-school shop teacher, volunteered his time to created and built a weather sustainable announcement board located at Plots 9 & 11

Signage Content/Presentation – Maeghan DeSantis who is responsible for the rotating content displayed 

Maintenance Team – FCI Youth Group (lead by Gillian & Kersten Feth), FCI Men’s Group, FCI Families and Community Retirement Homes who all make a difference by watering & cultivating the plots

Photographer - Micaela Cali – is the resident photographer with pictures & videos

Harvesting/Delivery Team To The School – FCI Families

What Can You Do?

Please feel free to visit Freedom Centre International (Partner in Harvest church lead by Pastor Rick D’Orazio) located at 4343 Regional Road 25 (Bronte Road), Oakville, Ontario 

Take a stroll around Plots 9 & 11 to see what the students have done so far. Pray over the garden for growth, production and a successful crop

Watch the Announcement Board @ Plots 9 & 11 for updates & progression

Help with a watering and weeding when Mother Nature is challenging us 

Volunteers to help maintain/harvest/deliver the food to The School of Ministry

Contact Ali Murchie at alison.murchie@gmail.com for any volunteer contributions or question