As the HdV family continues to grow through increasing our business relationships and the number of new members at our weekly meetings or site clean up days we thought this would be a good time to take a moment to reflect on our purpose in the Ontario community and the vision we have for the garden.
After spending years interacting with the residents of Central Ontario, the members of HdV realized how much the residents wanted healthier eating choices among other changes in their area and consequently what little options were available to them. The city of Ontario is currently recognized as a USDA “food desert”- an area in the United States with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly an area composed of predominantly lower-income neighborhoods and communities.
However, making fresh produce or nutritious food available to the Ontario residents was going to take much more than just building up new supermarkets or stocking the current market shelves with industrial agricultural products. As local and global communities have begun to understand the environmental, social, and political consequences that result from industrial farming practices (pesticides, GMO’s for example) many are turning to an alternative form of agriculture- particularly local community based sustainable agriculture. It is here that HdV plans to make a huge impact. By offering the residents of Ontario a communal space that will provide compost, seeds, water, the use of gardening equipment and working to build a sustainable urban farming operation HdV hopes to enable families to grow their own fresh, organic produce in an area where many could otherwise not have access to it because of economic or various other social practices.
But HdV doesn’t plan to stop there! HdV would like to see the garden turn in to so much more than just a community space where families can grow fresh fruits or vegetables. We would like the garden to be a ‘safe space’ for building communal ties and strengthening neighborhood relationships; a place for social interaction, community support, artistic expression and change making. By introducing an educational area we hope to encourage the young people to take interest in food justice, the alternative food movement, and recognize where the produce they are consuming is coming from and begin to create and practice local solutions to global challenges. Overall we hope that the garden can be a starting point that can help the residents of Ontario reclaim their agency in providing their community with the physical and emotional health that all communities deserve.