Maloca community garden shares harvest bounty

The York community came out to enjoy the fruits (well, mostly vegetables) of the Maloca Community Garden’s fifth growing season recently. The bounty included cherry tomatoes and potatoes, sweet potatoes and leeks. Although the most spectacular sights were already harvested – huge sunflowers, juicy corn, rows of onions and pole beans reaching up to six feet above the ground – the Maloca gardeners were successful in showing off their produce, and their enthusiasm, to visitors and prospective gardeners.

Established by environmental studies students in 1999, the 6,000-square-foot community garden on University land west of the Assiniboine residences provides a chance for landless urbanites to cultivate a patch of dirt and learn about sustainable living practices such as organic farming and composting.

According to Rajiv Rawat, an FES student and a coordinator of Maloca, “The garden’s peak was reached in early August when we harvested the corn for a corn roast party. We also recently held a canning workshop [left] and made salsa of our peppers and tomatoes as well as pickled our string beans.”

The growing season was good this year as the weather was ideal and precipitation plentiful. Weather, combined with the gardeners’ organizational skills and vigilance against such pests as snails and Colorado beetles, produced mouth-watering results.

Throughout September, the Maloca custodians harvested what they could before the frost attacked, then prepared the garden for winter.

During the season now ending, 18 gardeners were involved, some working on the dozen or so individual plots and many yielding their labours on the communal plot. Gardeners came forth from a variety of departments, including Women’s Studies and Political Science. Maloca enthusiasts hope to inspire greater participation by FES students next year.

Open to the entire York University community, the Maloca Community Garden is located west of 8 Assiniboine Road behind the baseball diamonds and “beyond the Grickle-grass,” as Dr. Seuss might say. Guests are always welcome. You can also visit the Maloca Community Garden online to view photos of crops and flowers, volunteers and special events.

Submitted by Maxwell Brem, external relations director, Faculty of Environmental Studies