The history and ongoing commitment of our Maple ‘Soup Kitchen’ garden – in 2000 it was decided to contribute produce to the wider community, and Union Gospel Mission was the kitchen that we chose to supply…
With a variety of helpers Kate Gole has supervised this endeavour in various locations of the garden ever since. During the CP upheaval many gardeners left and their former plots were pressed into service for the soup kitchen. This allowed continued production while waiting for the sections to be reconfigured.
With reconstruction completed, we have settled into two designated soup kitchen plots. One is in section 3 in memory of Marg Haga, the plot area that she had gardened from 1989 until she passed away in 2014. This plot is being tended by Kate. The second designated plot is in section 4 and is tended by Rosemary.
Given the small growing areas involved, the ability to grow enough to make a delivery worthwhile can be a challenge. The produce must also have some lasting power and in order to be usable, reach its destination in a timely fashion. This requires time, dedication and coordination by a small team of gardeners, harvesters and a delivery person. Our delivery volunteers (Pat and more recently Rosemary) have handled this efficiently over the years.
Produce that is easiest to handle are potatoes, onions, rhubarb and less fragile greens such as kale, broccoli, arugula, herbs, etc. The greens and rhubarb plants can be harvested multiple times, while potatoes and onions, when harvested, free space for a second crop of something; generally winter greens.
The productivity of the soup kitchen plots is at present very good. This year, we have already delivered 3 times to the Union Gospel kitchen, mostly rhubarb and kale.
In summary, this endeavour has been and continues to be appreciated by the community at large. It is also is a feather in the cap of our MAPLE COMMUNITY GARDEN profile; something we should all take pride in. Anyone with extra production of a type that would be appropriate to be included in a delivery and who would care to contribute should let the Soup Kitchen team know.