Hi everyone! My name is Nicolette and I am an Environmental Science student at the University of Toronto, and new Sustainability Intern at UHN.

As one of my first official tasks, I had the pleasure of representing the Energy & Environment Team at TRI-Bickle’s 2nd Annual Urban Agriculture Day last Friday. Home to one of UHN’s community gardens, Bickle’s GROW (Garden Rehab on Wheels) has custom height planters and wheelchair accessible paths that enables patients to participate in gardening as part of their rehabilitation. The group meets once a week, and together with dedicated volunteers and staff members, the patients are able to go outside and tend to the garden during the warmer months.

The end of the summer Corn Roast is chance for staff members and patients to come together to celebrate their hard work and enjoy the garden’s final few weeks. The event also welcomed patient families and community members to tour the garden and learn about the project.

Patients, staff, and volunteers enjoying the day’s festivities

This year, the event proved a huge success as the group managed to collect over $410 in donations! All donations will go toward the 2019 garden. Not only that, but GROW was recognized by the Toronto Urban Grower’s ‘Best in GrowTO’ competition, earning the award for Best Pollinator Patch and the Runner Up award for Best Container Garden.

Members of the Garden Group pose with their awards

This being my first time at Bickle and seeing the garden, I can’t help but marvel at the incredible sense of community the entire team shares. Everyone helped play a role in Friday’s festivities, as patients were tasked with shucking the corn and picking fresh herbs from the garden, while staff brought in supplies and cooked the delicious corn.

The event also featured a bake sale with plenty of treats using Bickle’s own garden-grown ingredients. Rhubarb oatmeal muffins, pepper and chive pita bread, and zucchini chocolate chip cookies, to name a few, all proved to be a huge hit (I would’ve taken a picture but ate mine too fast, oops). The contributions of everyone helped ensure the event ran smoothly and that everyone who stopped by had a wonderful time.

Patients and staff shuck away at the corn. Paula Cripps-McMartin gets the corn roasting!

A HUGE shoutout to Amanda Beales, a Registered Dietician and interprofessional Educator at Bickle! She runs the day-to-day garden operations and is the main organizer of this event. More shoutouts to the whole Bickle Garden team including (deep breath) Paula Cripps-McMartin, Dr. Ling, Susan, Fermina, Elzbieta, Fahreen, Nooshin, Pema, Elizabeth, Ann, Annette, Ana, Patricia, Gaby, Joe, Julia, Maria, Anthea, Lynda, Angela, Jackie, Deep and many more. Spending just a few short hours at Bickle has shown me how much patients and staff value the garden and its (many) benefits!

Thanks to everyone at Bickle for hosting me. I can’t wait to see what the 2019 season has in store for the Garden Group!