Member Profile: Oliver’s Garden Project

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Author: Josie Di Felice

Posted: July 10, 2013

Categories: Edible Education Network / Featured Edible Education Network Members / Good Food Ideas for Kids / News from Sustain Ontario

When 6-year-old Oliver saw two boys digging through recycling bins and was told it was because they needed the money, he convinced his parents to give the proceeds from sales from their backyard vegetable garden in Hamilton to local youth charities, thus planting the seeds for the beginning of Oliver’s Garden Project.

Along with his mom Stacey, dad Calum, and little sister Piper, they started by selling their vegetables in front of their house or at a local farmers’ market, with 100% of the vegetable sales going right to local youth charities that help kids in need. In their first growing season, they gave $450 to The Living Rock Ministries and in the second season they gave $500 to Food4Kids.

Since the Project’s beginning, it has grown! When they placed first in the Nature’s Path Gardens for Good and won a $20,000 grant, they used the funds to support other families in their community to start 5 more home based gardens with the help of Green Venture.  Oliver’s Garden Project has since inspired many others to start their own gardens.

The project has now teamed up with Green Venture and The Boys and Girls club to use Parkview Secondary School to host Growing in the Greenhouse Afterschool Program (thanks to a grant from The Cowan Foundation) to get kids growing vegetables and cooking healthy food. They have also worked with Oliver and Piper’s school to start the school’s first vegetable garden this season.

The family is supporting local food while also helping their community: an inspiring win-win situation — on top of all that, they’re also helping kids access and engage with good food!  They now have plans to raise funds to build a greenhouse to grow produce year-round and to continue to educate others.

Visit the Oliver’s Garden Project website and the following YouTube Video for more inspiration!

(Featured in the Ontario Edible Education Network‘s July newsletter)