The Start Me Up Niagara community garden program brings fresh, local vegetables and fruits from the garden to the tables of the people in our community.
Start Me Up Niagara’s two-acre community garden, located on land generously donated by Vineland Research and Innovation Centre has been growing fresh nutritious food for SMUN lunches and participants since 2010.
This local produce supplies the kitchen at The Centre and has been shared with volunteers, the Good Food Box and the local community. It has also been sold at our neighbourhood kiosk and the annual harvest festival held in Centennial Park.
In the middle of the vegetable garden there is a Labyrinth, a quiet place of healing featuring native flowers and herbs, butterflies, bees and a bench under a leafy trellis. This special place is maintained with the help of the Gateway Residential and Community Support Services, Mainstream, Master Gardeners and the St. Catharines Horticulture Society.
During the growing season transportation is provided to the garden Monday through Thursday. Volunteers enjoy being out of the city and working together in the garden to grow healthy produce.
We offer food preparation and kitchen activities at The Centre including workshops, cooking lessons, baking lessons, canning lessons, and more. Our kitchen is as diverse as the people who come to use the services and the many volunteers who get involved for the common goal of helping others.
Using produce from our garden in Vineland as much as possible, we bring fresh vegetables and fruits from the garden to the tables of the people in our community. By preparing the soup for our weekend lunch, using zucchini to make hot muffins for our kiosk, cutting cucumber slices for a refreshing treat at the front counter, our goal is to share the produce with participants, community members, and partners of SMUN.
Workshops are scheduled throughout the year and focus on a variety of topics related to food such as how to make gnocchi, homemade sausages, kale chips, savory or sweet jams and perogies.