Growing the seeds of community
The ATCO Giving Gardens was created in spring 2021 as way to weave Spruce Meadows, sustainability, volunteerism and generosity for Calgary’s vulnerable seniors and veterans into one great initiative. With the help of our ATCO volunteers, and Calgary Horticultural Society expert, Joanna Tschudy, we planted 30 garden beds full of hearty produce.
4720 meals. 4720 acts of kindness.
Our harvest is now complete and our delicious beets, potatoes, squash are making their way to feed vulnerable seniors through our partnership with the Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society, and vulnerable veterans living at the Homes For Heroes ATCO Village in Calgary.
Our meal program began October 12 and will run until December 17. Our summer harvest produce went to the Veterans Food Bank Association in Calgary.
Growing for good
Our garden grew from sustainable materials and practices. We were able to reclaim lumber from ATCO’s Structures division - that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill - for 10 garden beds. We also repurposed old milk crates and horse troughs for the 20 other garden beds, too.
Our contest winners
Congratulations to Jacqueline Lam, Stephanie Main, and Danielle Nerman for winning our ATCO Giving Gardens Community Contest and prize package. These lucky winners gardened alongside us – at a safe outdoor distance – all summer long and donated their harvest back to our meal program to help feed vulnerable veterans and seniors. Thank you!
We had some great friends working on this project with us!
- Calgary Horticultural Society
From help with vegetable and seed suggestions, to providing hands-on help at the ATCO Giving Gardens, our friends at CalHort were nothing short of amazing. They are also helping Blue Flame Kitchen grow their herb and vegetable garden at ATCO Park in Calgary.
- Calgary Seniors' Resource Society
Calgary Seniors' Resource Society and Blue Flame Kitchen are working together to feed vulnerable seniors this fall through our Seniors Meal Program. Produce harvested from our ATCO Giving Gardens will help supplement these delicious meals. See what we did last year.
- Blue Flame Kitchen is cooking up fresh ideas in the garden
Want to start your own garden, but unsure where to begin? Download Blue Flame Kitchen's Grow Gather Graze cookbook!
Ready to start harvesting? Learn how to best store your veggies here.
- Veterans Food Bank Association
There are many ways to donate to this worthwhile organization, including fresh produce donations, which we did in August 2021.
- Spruce It Up Garden Centre
Listen to Linda Southern-Heathcott, President & CEO, Spruce Meadows, speak with Meryl Coombs from Spruce It Up Garden Centre, who generously provided all the seeds for our new garden. Episode #164 on May 23, 2021.
Seeds of change start with safety
The ATCO Giving Gardens adhered to all COVID-19 safety precautions, making this a safe and enjoyable way to experience Spruce Meadows during the pandemic. Winners had special access to the grounds and abided by all public health measures set forth by Alberta Health Services.
The ATCO Giving Gardens at Spruce Meadows will open to the public in the Spring of 2022, as the grounds are still closed to the public due to COVID-19.