Months after receiving a grant from the city of Toronto in April, this local environmental association is showing results in their community garden.
Their goal is to increase the number of habitats for these insects to contribute to more genetic diversity among different breeds of plants.
Not only bees, but also butterflies, moths, beetles, and other insects are essential for the pollination of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and various crops, including wild plants.
In Canada and around the world, these insects have been suffering from a huge population decline. The implications of their struggle to survive are seen in many areas relating to our own survival as humans.
One of the most significant issues is the supply reduction of healthy, natural, non-industrialized foods.
“Did you know there are over 10,000 different species of tomatoes?” says Nancy Durrant, co-chair of The Lakeshore Environmental Gardening Society (LEGS), “We don’t hear about that because it’s always the same ones being sold in supermarkets.”
LEGS started over fifteen years ago, some members have been around since the beginning, but new members and volunteers are always joining our efforts says Nancy Durrant, co-chair and speaker at their bi-monthly meeting, usually held at the Long Branch public library.
The LEGS co-chair had a presentation prepared about heirloom vegetables, which are old, openly pollinated varieties that usually get passed down from generation to generation.
According to a study published earlier this year by the Environmental Health Perspectives, this crisis has caused a three to five per cent loss of fruit, vegetable and nut production around the world.
The scientists said that the lower consumption of these foods could contribute to about one per cent of yearly deaths, all due to pollinator loss.
Julie Stoyka is a teacher and head of the committee managing the money got from the PollinateTO grant.
Since early summer, Stoyka, among other volunteers, has been working to clean up a large space ceded by the Daily Bread food bank in New Toronto. They have now successfully turned it into a garden.
“We have plums, pears, and blackcurrant, and about 30 different types of flowering and berry-bearing plants,” says Stoyka, pointing to a pie that she brought, “It’s chokeberry pie!”
The head of the committee, then explains that usually at their meetings, members will bring food with ingredients grown and harvested by themselves in one of their gardens.
At the end of the meeting, the members gathered to exchange heirloom seeds, so they could each try their luck growing these different flowers and vegetables.
While she gathers the remaining seed packets, Durrant’s son gets excited at the prospect of growing black cherry tomatoes in his own garden, so he asks to have one. Durrant quickly complies, making sure not only the seeds but her passion for the environment and gardening will also be passed down from generation to generation.