Siloam Urban Garden
An important aspect of bringing urban agriculture to life for the community means alternative uses of urban space through partnerships.
In 2021, Urban Roots London partnered with Siloam United Church to develop an urban garden in the city’s north end.
Siloam United Church had a quarter of an acre of vacant land on their property at 1240 Fanshawe Park Rd E., which they wanted to grow fresh produce and Urban Roots had the expertise to transform underutilized land into an urban garden to produce healthy and nutritious food for the community. Our partnership gives us the opportunity to grow more food as well as accept the enthusiastic support of community members interested in adding a new dimension to London’s food system.
In a matter of months, the Siloam Urban Garden went from an empty lot with overgrown invasive species to a healthy garden and community space. In the 2021 growing season, 3,000 pounds of fresh, sustainably-grown produce were grown, harvested and distributed to local community organizations, such as the Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre and East London United Church Outreach (ELUCO), and the London Food Bank.
The Urban Garden at Siloam serves as a community hub and a gathering place for the neighbourhood. Community members would drop by the garden throughout the growing season to ask about the project, share their memories of growing food and stories about their gardens, and reconnect with the land and plants, building a sense of community surrounding the initiative.
In 2021, the Siloam Urban Garden project received support from the My Main Street Community Activator Program, which supports local community placemaking projects to draw visitors and increase local vibrancy in southern Ontario. My Main Street is funded by the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and is delivered by the Canadian Urban Institute.
2022 Growing Season
In the 2022 growing season, 1,500 pounds of fresh, sustainably-grown produce were grown, harvested and distributed to local community organizations, such as the Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre and East London United Church Outreach (ELUCO), and Community Markets. We distributed 164 pounds through ELUCO Food Cupboard. This harvest season the Siloam site production helped feed an estimated 1,000 people.
This growing season, volunteers and workers focused on intensifying fruit production of strawberries, raspberries, and currants. The orchard area has boasted pears, apples, sour cherries, plum trees and goji berries. We grew kale, collard greens, onions, lettuce, swiss chard, zucchini and winter squash in the main garden area. We grew seeds with intention of growing culturally inclusive produce like okra. Culturally diverse food is very important for our growing diverse population in London.
Plans for 2023
The partnership between Siloam United Church and Urban Roots London will continue to grow and thrive in 2023. Some exciting plans include increasing fruit production on-site to get fresh fruit out to people in the community. Follow along with the progress at Siloam Urban Garden and Orchard Project or stop by and see the garden for yourself.
New Siloam Gate!
A new, warm welcome will greet you at the Siloam Urban Roots Garden. The awesome work done to create the new gate is much appreciated by those who stop by, work, and volunteer there. Thank you to our Farm Team Lead, Sam for getting this great shot!