2009 Kavanah Garden End of Year Report

With winter finally here, now is the time to reflect on our incredibly successful first season at the Kavanah Garden and to vision plans, projects, and programs for next year!

Click here to see our End of Season Report for 2009!

Fall Photo Update

What a fall season it has been so far!
Here is a look at what has been happening at the Kavanah Garden in the last few weeks...
Our sunflowers grew to be almost ten feet tall!

We harvested over 300 pounds of fresh, local, organic produce for local charities such as United Chesed (http://www.unitedchesed.com/) and Ve'Ahavta (http://www.veahavta.org/).

We grew many different varieties of tomatoes!
From left to right: Black Cherry, Matt's Red Cherry, Yellow Pear, and Green Zebra

We had young adults from D.A.N.I. (http://www.dani-canada.com/)
help us harvest produce for tzedakah.

We celebrated a Bat Mitzvah at the garden! As part of her Bat Mitzvah project, Iris spent the summer volunteering at the Kavanah Garden, most notably by bringing her artistic and creative vision to the space. Here is the lid of our composter that she painted - "This is the way of the righteous, that nothing, not even a mustard seed should be wasted." Mazel Tov Iris!

With the help of some incredibly talented volunteers, we built a pergola that will serve as the frame for our sukkah during the holiday of Sukkot. During other times of the year, the structure will be converted into an outdoor kitchen area with rain barrels to catch rain water and hanging mesh for drying onions and garlic in the fall

And here is our sukkah! The walls are bed sheets that we dyed using Goldenrod flowers and black walnuts from our field.

SK students from Leo Baeck (North Campus) visited the garden to help us harvest the Atomic Red Carrots that they planted as JK students in the spring! Harvesting turnips!

We hosted our first ever Sukkot Celebration!
Over 50 community members joined us to sing, study and enjoy a candle-lit vegetarian potluck dinner together in our sukkah.

Thank you everyone for helping make our first season at the Kavanah Garden an extraordinary one! A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed their time, energy, and vision to this project.

With radical gratitude,

Risa Alyson Strauss (Kavanah Garden Program Director)

Kavanah Photo Update :: September Begins!

Its the beginning of September now, and the harvest just keeps coming!

Our sweetest harvest yet! Straight from the cabbage patch!

Oh alright, here are the real cabbages.

We've been working hard in the garden. There is Ron harvesting the cabbages.

Our young strawberry plants are really too new to put out much fruit. But Tamara certainly enjoyed our first and only strawberry of the season!

We've got plenty of zucchinis (and other veggies), but our fruit seem to be growing in singles this year. This is our melon!

And we had a surprise guest as well. Presenting the common garden snake - in OUR garden! Mark promptly caught it to show around. It had been wiggling around in our tomato bed.

Kavanah Garden Photo Update :: August

A lot has changed at the garden since our last update! We're harvesting! And the garden has been beautified by hand-crafted signage. We enjoyed a wonderful community festival day with all of you! And, did we mention the harvesting???

Volunteers helped us to paint signs showing all of our different vegetable crops.

The entrance way to our garden has been significantly improved with this Torah-full piece of art. It was painted by a bat-mitzvah girl who is working at the garden as her bat-mitzvah project.

Our garden beds are now labeled with Hebrew letters. We'll never get lost again!

Children of our CSA members often come along to pick up their boxes. They love hunting for snails on Thursday afternoons, while their parents choose their produce.

A volunteer helping us mow the pathways using a push lawn mower - with a bit of extra muscle we are limiting the amount of fossil fuel we need to maintain our garden.

These sunflowers are available through the Tikkun Adamah CSA.

This is a picture of Tamara building our solar oven, in honour of Birkat HaChama (blessing of the sun which occurs once every 28 years, which we did in February).

Harvesting: in keeping with the Mishnaic law of ma'aser (donating a tenth of one's harvest) we have been donating produce through United Chesed and to a local food bank and shelter.

Bok Choy

Crooked Neck Squash

Our apprentices went raspberry picking at a local organic farm and then learned how to make raspberry jam, which was sold at the community festival.

Kavanah's 1st Community Festival Extravaganza! Rain and Shine!

It was bright and early. Risa, apprentices, spouses, and children had arrived. The sky was looming - clouds and darkness. We began to prepare the day's activities... optimistic that rain would NOT fall. We WILL have a festival!

Not so far away thunder rumbled, lightening flashed. Maybe it won't rain. Please, say it won't rain. It rains, and it pours.

Seeking refuge in the greenhouse, in awe of one of the most violent storms in recent history (the CN tower was hit by lightening 5 times!), our cell phones began to ring; volunteers wondering if the day is canceled due to rain. First, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, then 45 minutes pass.

Excruciating indecision. Should we cancel the festival? Will anyone come after such rain? Will the 3 year old's rendition of "Mr. Sun" have some magical effect on the weather? Then, the rain began to lighten. Outside, we gazed up at the sky. Matti walked up the drive way to get a full view of the sky. The North East corner of the sky looked beautiful, sunny and blue. We took a vote, and decided to wait 30 more minutes, to see if the sun would clear.

And the rain stopped. The sky lightened. The clouds rolled away. We got back to setting up for the day, and volunteers and guests began to arrive. A hot, sunny, fun-filled day!

Children help look for ladybugs and other beneficial insects.

A boy holds a sunflower from the organic farmer's market.

Children make pickled dilly beans to take home using fresh, locally, organically grown beans.

Community members learn about the herbs growing at the
Kavanah Garden and harvest some for making fresh tea.

Children and volunteers hunt for worms in the vermicomposter.

Volunteers set up the solar oven to cook pizzas with freshly picked herbs.

All photos were taken by Emily Rose Antflick.

Kavanah Garden Community Festival

Click on flyer for larger image

Kavanah Garden Photo Update!

Here's a look at what's been happening at the Kavanah Garden in the last couple of weeks!

We installed our first mezuzah on the grape vine arbour at the garden's entrance.

We finished building our composting centre out of reclaimed wooden skids.
According to the rabbis, a richteous person is one who wastes not even a mustard seed!

We designed a constructed a rain water catchment system off of one of our sheds.
With all of the rain we've been getting these last few weeks, we haven't had to make the trip down to the stream for water in a while!

We built an upside down tomato something or other! That's right....in those buckets, we have tomato plants planted upsdide down. It's an experiment!
We also planted pole beans and climbing nasturtiums at the base of the strings.

We finished our Magen David raised wildflower bed!
The bed is now planted with native wildflower seeds, which will help to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to our garden!

The Tikkun Adamah CSA, in partnership with the Cutting Veg Organic Farm is going strong! Farmer Daniel Hoffman and his interns are providing CSA members with the freshest, localest, organicest produce around!

Our potatoes are very happy growing in old car tires!

Weeding our Pe'ah bed where we've planted corn, beans, and squash (also known as the "Three Sisters" - a First Nations example of companion planting.)

Inspecting the squash...

Our first Patty Pan summer squash!!!

We inocculated logs with mushroom spores.
In the fall we should have our first crop of white and blue oyster mushrooms!

We planted three different varieties of radishes! All seem pretty happy :)

It is such a blessing to be growing food and community on this land!
We're at the garden every Tuesday and Thursday from 3-7.
Feel free to stop by to volunteer, learn a little, or simply enjoy the space!
Wishing you and yours a growthful summer season!

Upcoming Workshop - Composting 101

According to our rabbis, a righteous person does not waste ever a mustard seed!
Discover how to turn your vegetable scraps, eggshells, and used napkins into nutrient-rich soil!

Sunday, June 28, 2009, 10am-12pm

Workshop will be held at the Kavanah Garden, located on Lebovic Campus Drive (west of Ilan Ramon Blvd.) The cost of the workshop is $20/person ($18/person for Tikkun Adamah CSA members).

Registration is mandatory. To register, please contact Risa Alyson Strauss at 416-805-8382 or risa@torathateva.org.

Volunteer Time :: The Young Ones

Every Tuesday and Thursday, from 3-7, is open volunteer hours. Anyone can come and play in our garden! Here is a peek at what happened in the garden this Thursday... some very young gardeners came to visit and play.