Wednesday, 24 April 2013

EcoFriendly Action Grants Support Urban Agriculture, Waste Reduction, and Outdoor Classroom

We’ve received lots of EcoFriendly Action Grant applications over the past few weeks. It’s great to see so many people involved in positive activities that will benefit our local environment. Outlined below are the three projects we recently supported.

The Garden Patch

The Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre has produced over 55,000 pounds of food in three years at the Garden Patch, a vacant lot on 3rd Avenue North. Transporting the produce from the garden to the Food Bank presents a logistical problem. Produce needs to be transported as soon as it is harvested, but it is often only one or two garbage bag-sized sacks of produce. Using the Food Bank’s truck to transport such a small amount of food is inefficient and costly in terms of environmental, staff, and monetary resources.

The solution? A cargo freight bike paid for by EcoFriendly Sask with assistance from Axon Development Corporation.

The Garden Patch is looking for volunteers and equipment to help them this summer. Why not lend a hand? And be sure to wave when you see the cargo bike driving past.

Plastic Smart Saskatoon ($500)

In January 2012, Plastic Smart Saskatoon (originally called Plastic Free Saskatoon) lobbied Saskatoon City Council to ban the distribution of single-use, disposable plastic bags. The ban was rejected by City Council, but the group has remained active and committed to their goal of challenging Saskatoon residents to be conscious of their waste output.

The group is planning to host several riverbank clean-up events in 2013. The afternoon hikes will also include an educational component to help participants learn about plastic sustainability, ecological features of the area, and the state of the Saskatchewan River Basin. They plan to give away re-usable cotton bags and hope to set up a bag depot so that people can pick up a bag to use when they need it and drop it off when it is no longer required for others to use.

Grade 3 Class, Sutherland School ($500) 

The Grade 3 class at Sutherland School, along with their teacher Kelley Fineday, want to create an outdoor classroom with raised garden beds. The students will be involved in building and planting the raised beds; there will be food production lessons and tastings in all the classrooms and a community feast in the fall.

The students hope that their outdoor classroom and community garden will help the Sutherland School community to visualize how food production is easy to maintain, to further understand the good nutritional aspects of growing a food garden, and to grow closer together as a community.