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Toronto - teen garden cultivates understanding organically

  • Subject: [cg] Toronto - teen garden cultivates understanding organically
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 14:59:54 -0700 (PDT)

CBC Canada
Aug 21, 2006

Youth garden project sprouts hope

Toronto's Flemingdon Park area has a reputation as a
hothouse of youth and gang violence, but one group is
trying to cultivate a new image for the area with a
garden project.

A group of local teens have staked out a small patch
of earth near the Flemingdon Park Community Garden in
the Grenoble Drive area to grow pesticide-free herbs
and vegetables with the permission of a nearby
community centre.

Since last September, 14-year-old Obaid Khan has been
raking, digging and watering the garden.

"The first time we came here it was all brown and
stuff, but now it's all green," he said.

Flemingdon Park sits on farmland that was turned into
a planned apartment community in the 1950s. Over the
years, the area has come to be associated with youth
violence.

Anas Ayaz, 16, hopes the project will change negative
stereotypes by sending a different message about the
neighbourhood.

"Nowadays you've got a lot of perception, you know,
that youth are bad, this and that. So I just felt that
this was something positive that youth can get
involved in," said Ayaz.

For Ayaz, who has always lived in an apartment
building, it is the first time he's ever gardened.

The group is growing a variety of herbs and
vegetables, including tomatoes, okra, cabbage and hot
peppers.


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