More than 86% of Ontarians live in urban areas, are increasingly cut off from the natural environment and have a diminishing understanding of the source of their food crops, how they are and can be grown and the interrelationship and impacts of varying environmental elements and conditions. These developments have significant implications for the environment, future food production, related policy development and decision making, efficient resource use and the health and well-being of society.
Country Heritage Park, in collaboration with a range of supporting development partners, is developing an experiential "Ground to Palate" Food Literacy Programme. The programme incorporates an integrated Teaching Garden, information on where, and why to buy local food, experiential links to healthy eating, and innovations related to environmental sustainability and the future of food and farming.
The Teaching, Trial and Display Garden will provide the basis and focus for delivery of an experiential, on-site and remote access educational programming around the garden components, an integrated bee colony, associated pollination crops, composting unit and a future teaching greenhouse. The garden will include traditional and non-traditional vegetable, orchard fruit, herbs, selected flowers, landscape plants and is key building block of the "Ground to Palate" Food Literacy educational initiative.
The garden will add incremental educational programming to our current curriculum-based kindergarten to Grade 8 programme reaching 12,000 regional school children and their teachers and provide a focal point for engaging, connecting and delivering educational programmes to grade 8-12 students, new home owners, new Canadians and others.
CHP is in an ideal position to initiate this project and create a rural-urban bridge that connects schools, families and residents throughout Ontario with key issues of food and farming. We are located in the fastest growing community in Canada. We sit at the crossroads of the urban & rural communities of the GTA with 8 million residents within a 90 minute drive of the Park. We also have the opportunity to leverage our historical connections with the agri-food community, our current educational programme, and grow urban community links to create a unique food & farm experience for the benefit of all Ontarians.