Innis Garden takes roots

a small group of students and professors stand behind wooden vegetable planters at innis college

This summer, students got their hands dirty at Innis College with the introduction of a community garden. The Innis Garden involves several raised vegetable planters, tended to by a dedicated team of students and faculty, including our own vice principal, Eva-Lynn Jagoe.

The seeds of this initiative began with a collaboration between a Scholars-in-Residence (SiR) undergraduate program, co-supervised by Eva-Lynn, and passionate student groups. One such group, DigIn, has been creating harvestable community gardens across St. George campus. DigIn member and Innis student Nadia Gericke, who acquired project funding from Innis College Council’s Student Services Committee, was pivotal in bringing the garden to fruition at her college. Nadia shares her motivations and underscores the significance of community gardens below.

One SiR student, Amber McNeil, reflected on her experiences for Network in Canadian History & Environment (NiCHE).

"As a student, a person concerned about the climate, and a child of immigrants, implementing communal growing spaces and increasing their frequency at U of T is incredibly important to me.

"I have seen the power community gardens have to connect people to each other and to the land, while building agency and autonomy. Especially in expensive cities, many of us lack access to land, quality food, and sense of community — cut off from hereditary knowledge of caring for the land and growing food sustainably.

"Community gardens have helped me think about what it means to be a settler on this land and how to connect to my own cultural heritage, while honouring and learning from the Indigenous communities who have cared for this land for generations, and who continue to do so.

"I hope the Innis Garden can be a part of a healing process for Innisians and for all communities on and around campus. We've already witnessed an impact on Innis students. So many volunteers, faculty, community members, and student leaders got involved, faster than I could have imagined. I am excited to see how this garden grows and helps foster valuable connections!"