2022 has some stories to share!
Right around this time last year, the Roulant was taking a radical turn: we would scale down the farm’s production, discontinue the vegetable basket program, and define a new, agroeducational focus for the farm. To achieve that, the urban agriculture and the farm teams were called in to join forces in order to increase the farm’s impact with social inclusion and education.
It was a big risk to take, and we weren’t sure what to expect – but we’re excited to say that this experience better centered us around our common goals and, despite challenges such as the geographic separation remaining, we’ve made great steps in cultivating the seeds of our joint agroeducational mission. Here are some of the successes of the agriculture teams collaboration this year:
- In addition to the 250 youth who participated in the urban gardens, we welcomed 100 youth at the farm through two school and two summer camp visits this year (building back up from 0 youth at the farm in 2021 and 2020) ! We also developed new games specifically for the farm such as the Flower Rally and Farm Bingo.
- We started the first-ever Jack-mobile, a small shuttle taking volunteers once a week for seven weeks from the Roulant’s headquarters to volunteer shifts at the farm. This had a massive impact, increasing the accessibility of the farm for urban folks, including folks with disabilities for whom access would otherwise be impossible, and increasing team-spirit towards farm missions.
- We better bridged the geographical gap between the Plateau Roulant staff and farm staff by hosting 2 staff meetings at the farm and having a rotating staff member join the farm team once each week for a full day of work.
- We held an agriculture teams retreat: a 2-day trip to Vermont and New-York state to visit different farming projects (Soulfire and Shelburne Farms) as well as spend an evening discussing the season we just accomplished and do some visioning for our agriculture programs
- Welcomed over 100 volunteers, 7 corporate groups, and 3 groups from other non-profit organizations
- Hosted 4 community work days in which we invited the community to join us for a potluck lunch and a large focused task including Cultiver Senneville, Garlic Harvest, Power Weed, and our second edition of the Agriculture Volunteer Appreciation Party in collaboration with the urban agriculture team for our annual Garlic Planting at the farm – photos here!
- Grew 1.2 tonnes of zucchini, 80kg short of 1 tonne of cucumbers, and half a tonne of watermelon with one always being cracked open and shared during every lunch with volunteers : -)
- Collaborated with our volunteer collective Mycollectif to grow mushrooms at the farm (!!), all of which were donated to our meals-on-wheels kitchen
- 12% of produce was donated to our Meals-on-Wheels kitchen, and 4% was donated to other food accessibility organizations
- 30% of our produce was sold to 6 hospitals and CPEs in Montreal in collaboration with Récolte and two other farms in the West Island to collectively sell produce to local social institutions
- 32% of our produce was sold to neighbouring farms, 15% directly to individuals in our community, and 7% was sold to other non-profit organizations working in food accessibility
- Planted 300 perennials, installed 6 birdhouses, and dug a pond to promote the biodiversity of our ecosystem as well as ensure water resilience of the farm
- $7,400 worth of seedlings were sold during our annual seedling sale to our community as well as other urban agriculture organizations in Montreal
Urban gardens stats:
- 2 urban gardens: the Roulant’s Rooftop and Cité-des-Hospitalières
- 180 volunteers this year and over 1,000 volunteering hours!
- 850kg of produce were grown, close to a $1, 000 value. 53% went to the Meals-on-Wheels kitchen, 30% to the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal for redistribution in their community, and 17% to volunteers and other partners.
- 250 flower bouquets delivered to the Meals-on-Wheels clients and the Milton-Parc community
- Over 30 partner organizations, including schools, day camps, and organizations working in social inclusion
- 2 intergenerational mentoring activities with elders and youth
All of this was possible because of all of YOU. Here are a few words from our volunteers and partners, just like you:
« Very beneficial to connect with interesting and kind people, practice French, spend time outdoors and learn some tidbits about organic farming. »
– Farm volunteer
« J’ai appris beaucoup de choses et j’ai rencontré quantité de gens d’horizons différents. Ça a contribué à largement enrichir ma vision et mes perspectives. Je dirais que c’est ça, l’élargissement de ma vision sur le monde, que mon expérience au Roulant m’a apporté de plus ”valuable”. »
– Bénévole dans les jardins
« Moi et mon groupe de jeunes autistes avons découvert une culture d’entraide et de bienveillance. »
– Martine Kurtzweg, Coordonnatrice de programme, Fondation Miriam, who participated in all of the Roulant programs
To end on a high note, here are some of our favorite moments captured throughout the season:
A massive thank you to all our volunteers, partners, staff and community members like YOU. Thank you for taking a moment to read : -) It is now time for us to plan for the next beautiful season, and on that note we wish you a beautiful winter and hope to see you in the urban gardens and the farm next year and around the Roulant in the meantime! Always feel free to stop by and say hey or reach out to us at:
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Magali & Katherine