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Help keep the Sunshine Garden growing!
$10,568 raised
53% of $20k goal
86 contributors
7 Hours left Ends Jul 26, 2017
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For 15 years, FoodShare has run a therapeutic garden in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. We need your help to keep this program going year round. More

What's the Sunshine Garden?

The Sunshine Garden is a therapeutic garden run in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. This mostly hidden gem is more than a plot of land, it’s a salve and a safe place to heal and grow. The Sunshine Garden’s prescription is simple: sun, seeds and care.

“Work in the garden takes priority over interacting with my symptoms...It’s a kind of medicine, to be outside caring for plants, harvesting, weeding and seeding in the greenhouse,” says Toshio, Sunshine Gardener and CAMH client.

For 15 years, FoodShare Toronto has run the therapeutic market garden in partnership with CAMH. The results are indisputable. Client gardeners report strong, positive changes and see the garden as vital to their wellbeing. And it all comes from tending to the land, growing and then selling vegetables and fruit. This season, we need your help to keep us growing at the Sunshine Garden.

Harvesting beans in the Sunshine Garden.

Why does it matter?

In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem. The focus of our work at the Sunshine Garden is one way to make the road to recovery a brighter one. It provides a beautiful and tranquil environment to work alongside others, growing and harvesting fresh produce in benefit of the local community.

“Clients are not seen as just a patient, they are a worker, a productive team member, and this is very powerful in terms of their recovery,” says Kim Mullens, CAMH occupational therapist.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “the unemployment rate of persons with serious mental illness … has been commonly reported to range from 70-90%, depending on the severity of the disability.” 

With your support we can enhance the frequency and focus of our skills development and garden sessions, providing more opportunities for garden volunteers to grow produce, coordinate twice weekly market sales at Queen and Shaw, and participate in hands-on garden trainings and food skills development.

Sunshine gardeners take pride in their achievement and showcasing their abilities, building the confidence and skills they need to take positive action in their lives, and modeling what is possible when we cultivate produce, and a sense of community in unlikely spaces in our City.

A gardener holds large stalks of rhubarb that he has just harvested from the Sunshine Garden, a therapeutic garden project at CAMH in Toronto.

How can I help?

By donating  and helping to spread the word  before  July 21st  to help us grow the Sunshine Garden your investment will:

  • Provide more gardening sessions to more clients at CAMH 

  • Expand garden programming throughout the year

  • Support complementary therapies outside of a clinical setting

  • Build hands-on job skills and training programs

  • Send a powerful message of support for mental health and addiction supports, like the transformative and healing benefits of horticultural therapy

“The garden is a hidden gem, a lush oasis of tranquility in the middle of the city. Tucked behind the many buildings that make up CAMH, It brings to life vacant institutional land which now produces over 500 pounds of heirloom vegetable, soft fruits and native plants. Over my 8 years here, I have seen first-hand the transformative nature of the garden and how both clients of CAMH and the plants thrive,” says Liz Kirk, Sunshine Sr. Coordinator for FoodShare. 

One can not underestimate the powerful effects of developing new transferable skills in a safe and supportive environment, of nurturing a seed through to harvest and then the joy of sharing the bounty of that harvest with your friends and community. It creates a strong sense of purpose and fulfillment, improves quality of life and helps to sustain recovery. This program has been running successfully for fifteen years, but we would like to do even more.

Just-picked organic produce on Queen St. at the Sunshine Organic Garden's market cart

Other ways to support:

Your support doesn’t have to be a dollar amount. Sharing our story can help put a spotlight on the importance of talking about, and addressing mental health and addictions.

We’d love if you could tell your friends and colleagues about the garden! Send an email, Tweet, Facebook or Instagram it. We’re thankful for all your support. Don't forget to tag @FoodShareTO and use #PlantingHope when you spread the word.

For all donations, you will receive a tax receipt less the value of the perk you choose. If you donate and elect to not choose a perk you will get a tax receipt for the full amount of your donation.

You can also start a sub-campaign for yourself or a team of colleagues to help the garden grow. It's simple, just click the button on the bottom right of this page to get started!

If you'd like to taste the goodies grown, stop by the Sunshine Garden Market on Wednesdays from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Queen St W and Gordon Bell Road (please note that markets start in late June and continue through summer).

About perks:

When do I get my perk? Physical perks will be available during harvest season in September 2017. We will email to let you know when they will be available for pick-up.

Impacts:

Since it began, the Sunshine Garden has:

  • Reached over 300 client gardeners. That’s over 7,500 hours of therapeutic healing and growing

  • Grown over 8,000 lbs of vegetables and fruit. That’s a lot of markets days reducing stigma around mental health and addiction

About Us:

FoodShare is a non-profit organization that works with communities and schools to deliver healthy food and food education. We believe everyone deserves access to affordable high-quality fresh food. Since 1985, FoodShare has launched innovative programs like the Sunshine Garden at CAMH, the Good Food Box, impacted what kids eat in school, and improved the way people eat and grow food across Toronto every day.

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Help the Sunshine Garden grow! Community

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How it works
To appear in our community, simply make a contribution to our campaign and show your name, or inspire a contribution from someone else by sharing your personal link (below). The more contributions you make or inspire, the higher you'll go and the more the campaign will benefit.

Perks

$10
Garden Recipe
  • 6 claimed
Garden Volunteer Jamie’s famous zucchini bread recipe
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$25
Garden Visualization
  • 11 claimed
Get away from your hectic day with this relaxing meditation guide.
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$50
Famous Zucchini Bread
  • 10 claimed
  • 20 remaining
Your very own loaf of zucchini bread baked by Garden Volunteer Jamie with love and ingredients from the garden!
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$100
Garden Preserves
  • 8 claimed
  • 22 remaining
A batch of preserves or vinegar made with garden ingredients!
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$250
Seasonal Bouquet
  • 1 claimed
  • 9 remaining
Enjoy a bit of the garden in your home! Fresh, seasonal flowers straight from the garden.
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$500
Sunshine ShareTote
  • 1 claimed
  • 4 remaining
A bag full of goodies from the garden including a selection of fresh produce, zucchini bread, preserves, and a bouquet of flowers
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$1,000
All the Sunshine!
  • 0 claimed
  • 5 remaining
A Sunshine ShareTote and tickets to FoodShare’s signature annual event, Recipe for Change (February 22, 2017).
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