Dig In! Gardens across campus. Click image to enlarge!
Dig In! is comprised of autonomous growing projects rooted in particular colleges, student unions, academic departments, and campus organizations. We also work collaboratively with Hart House and the UofT administration to maintain a series of demonstration gardens across St. George campus.
Operating as a decentralized collective amplifies opportunities for student engagement, learning, and leadership. Each project is happily guided by the unique needs and interests of its members.
At the same time, we know that communicating and collaborating with like-minded campus groups facilitates knowledge transfer, resource-sharing, and community-building. By working together, we become much more than the sum of our plants.
Campus produce is consumed by volunteers, munched on by passersby, and donated to the UofT Food Bank. Our focus on heirloom and native plant varieties will help cultivate a biodiverse learning and living environment for the entire UofT community.
So go ahead and check out these amazing projects. Dig In!
The Dig In! collective maintains a series of gardens plots around campus – perhaps you’ve seen them around Sidney Smith, UTSU, or Anthropology? Historically we’ve also maintained gardens at Willcocks Common, Hart House, and Medical Sciences. More recently, we’ve begun new gardens at New College, Campus Co-op and the Faculty Club. We use these spaces to raise awareness about urban agriculture, local food, and sustainable design issues on campus – they produce tons of delicious vegetables too! We have to thank the individual departments, colleges, and the UofT administration for donating these spaces and supporting our initiatives.
Email us at email@example.com to get involved!
Anthropology Garden & Greenhouse
Did you know there’s a greenhouse in the Anthropology building? Not many people do – sticking out of the south side of the building on Huron Street you can spy a little glassed-in room. It hasn’t been put to its intended use for over 30 years…until we refurbished it in 2011! We also maintain a garden on the east side of the Anthropology building that’s filled with kale, calendula, parsley, sage, cilantro and Egyptian onions.
If you would like to learn more about how this space has being transformed and how you can help out, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campus Co-op Raised Beds
In June 2018 with the help of funding from a Community-Engaged Initiatives Grant from U of T Student Life, we built two raised beds behind Campus Co-op, located at 596 Spadina Ave. In 2019 we obtained grant funding from the World Wildlife Fund and Taking it Global. This funding allowed us to intensify this garden space, adding two more raised beds in April. We also purchased a rolling composter for the site. In June 2019, with assistance from Lowell Lo Design, we added a double rain barrel system to catch rain water to irrigate. Special thanks to all our volunteers and the funding agencies that helped create this space!
Faculty Club Roof Garden
Over the summer of 2018, Dig In! collaborated with UofT B.E.E.S to start a pollinator garden on the roof top of Faculty Club, which is also home to some bee hives. We are happy to report that pollinator garden is still thriving in 2019, contributing to happy bees on campus. Special thanks to Young Urban Farmers, who kindly donated some of their EarthBox Organic Garden Kits for this initiative. Click here to read the blog post about this pollinator garden.
The UofT Beekeeping Education Enthusiast Society (B.E.E.S.) oversees a number of rooftop apiaries across campus. B.E.E.S. champion organic, non-intrusive beekeeping approaches, and host educational events throughout the year.
Newcomers are more than welcome – send an email to email@example.com for more information, and to join the mailing list.
Hart House Farm
The Hart House Farm Committee is a group of students, staff, faculty and alumni that oversee the use and development of Hart House Farm, a 150-acre rural property located on the Niagara Escarpment. In partnership with Dig In!, the Committee used to maintain two garden plots at Hart House itself, along the western side of Queens Park Crescent. Unfortunately, those gardens were paved over a few years ago. Dig In’s large garden that used to be in front of Hart House is no longer in use because an accessibility ramp will be constructed in the space. We hope to have some exciting new Hart House projects to announce for next year’s growing season.
Although Hart House Farm is primarily used as an excellent events/meeting venue, the Farm Committee also uses the space to engage students around local food and sustainable agriculture. Garden plots, berry canes, and apple trees already exist on the property, providing a unique rural-urban experience for interested members of the UofT community.
To get involved or to join the Farm Committee listserv, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Huron-Sussex Community Garden is run by residents from Huron-Sussex and nearby neighbourhoods. Located at the corner of Huron St. and Glen Morris, the garden is supported by a small annual membership fee, donations, and the University of Toronto. Their purpose is to build community and to promote urban agriculture. Dig In! collaborates with the HSCG by starting seedlings together in the Anthropology Greenhouse, and by organizing annual campus garden tours during Urban Agriculture Week. Contact the HSCG at email@example.com or visit them on facebook here.
Kahonitake Kitikan, located at the east side of Hart House, is a medicine garden and sacred meeting space supported by the Native Student Association. Native plants, medicinal plants, and ceremonial herbs can all be found growing here. Learn more about how the garden coordinator, Roy Strebel, and his daughter have been helping to care for the garden over the last five years by reading this U of T News story.
For more information or to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lash Miller Garden
We started helping out with the Lash Miller garden in the spring of 2019. Over the last two years, this garden has been inaccessible due to construction. It was initially started by a group of Chemistry graduate students and staff. The students who helped start this garden have since graduated, but one of the key staff members is still involved. We reached out to see if they would like help getting this garden going again for the 2019 growing season. The first step was to do some major weeding! We spared a few garlic chives and cilantro plants before adding a layer of compost to the whole garden, to add nutrients to the sandy soil. Finally we transplanted seedlings and direct sowed several rows of seeds. Currently growing in this garden are tomatoes, peppers, amaranth, basil, sage, and ground cherry. We’ve also seeded it with parsnips, carrots, beets, radishes and tobacco.
New College Gardens
In the spring of 2018, we started digging in at the Human Biology garden, located within a small walled courtyard on the corner of Classic Avenue and Huron St. We’ve been growing radishes, kale, zucchini, and herbs here. We also planted two black currants. Our second garden at New College is the Wilson Hall Balcony garden off room 2007D. Prospective volunteers can contact email@example.com.
Over the last six years, faculty and students at OISE have been investigating new ways of infusing environmental and sustainability education (ESE) into our programs, organizational culture and physical infrastructure in hopes of embedding and manifesting a culture of sustainability in all that we do.
This grassroots movement has also worked towards fulfilling OISE’s goal of working towards ecological and social responsibility. As part of this work, a dedicated group of students and faculty created a Community Learning Garden in front of OISE’s main building to support integrated learning about ESE in our graduate and teacher education programs.
The garden is found in six large concrete planters at the front of the OISE building (252 Bloor St. West in Toronto), and each has its own theme related to the foundational concepts of OISE’s programs: Indigenous Education, Equity and Inclusive Education, Holistic Education, Creativity in Education, and Environmental & Sustainability Education. Learn more at http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/ese/OISE_Learning_Garden/
Located on top of the Galbraith engineering building, the Sky Garden is a collaborative project between the UofT Urban Agriculture Society and the Food and Water Institute. The Sky Garden uses interconnected Biotop containers to create an amazing semi-hydroponic, self-watering rooftop growing system.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
St. Hilda’s Raised Beds
These beds are managed by alumni of the Butterfield TrinONE Environment & Sustainability Stream, in partnership with the Trinity College Rooftop Garden. This space behind St. Hilda’s is more accessible than the roof garden, and is thus perfect for animating interest in urban agriculture at Trinity. Ideally these three beds will justify more beds in future years –here’s hoping for a Trinity Allotment Garden! Detailed plans for the beds can be found here & more information on the TrinONE stream is here.
Trinity Roof Garden
The idea for a rooftop garden on the Munk School of Global Affairs building at 1 Devonshire Place was developed in Prof. John Robinson’s 4th year course ENV461: U of T as a Living Lab of Sustainability. As part of the course, 4th year undergraduate and first year graduate student researchers submitted a preliminary design to Trinity’s Assistant Provost. This proposal borrowed from the UofT’s Sky Garden design and was used to base a successful grant application in 2017 –$5,000 was won through the Chartwells Campus Project award to buy twenty Biotop containers. In 2018, generous donors helped expand the garden to eighty Biotops and establish a food systems summer internship for graduates of the TrinityONE Butterfield Environment & Sustainability first year program. That is, in addition to producing delicious local produce, the garden serves as a rich experiential learning opportunity and entrepreneurial outlet for students at various points in their studies.
For further information or to volunteer at this garden, contact email@example.com
The UTSC Farm is a 10-acre brownfield site that will be dedicated to teaching, research and community engagement. Still in the early stages, in 2018, the site was surveyed and fenced. 6 raised beds of 4′ x 8′ x 16″ were built, where tomatoes, alfalfa, and potatoes were successfully grown. Various teaching activities and guided tours took place during the first growing season. The Campus farm is located on the north side of Chartway boulevard and the west side of Conlins road. In 2019, Edible Campus expanded to a network of several green spaces located at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. Edible Campus is inviting anyone interested in farming, environmental issues, and food security to join them at their weekly workdays.
Email Edible Campus at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer!
UTSU Equity Garden
The UTSU Equity Garden is located at and supported by the University of Toronto Students’ Union (U.T.S.U.) Sustainability Commission in partnership with Dig In! For the 2018 growing season, this garden has produced strawberries, rhubarb, sage, mint, garlic and raspberries. We also have some mushroom logs here!
Prospective volunteers can contact email@example.com.