Phil FerraroCEO, Legacy Garden
At the centre of the PEI Community Garden in downtown Charlottetown, is not what you’d expect. Surrounded by garden plots filled with vegetables in this, the largest urban farm in Canada, is a circle of green lawn with picnic tables, a children’s play area, strawberry patch and an events stage.
That’s because people in Charlottetown come to the Legacy Garden for more than tilling and weeding, growing and harvesting, says Phil Ferraro, the Garden’s CEO. They come to connect with their community.
Senior citizens stay active, spending hours tending to their tomatoes, peppers and lettuces. Newcomers share their cultures, bringing unusual seeds from their homelands to plant and nurture. Families introduce new generations to the land, entertaining little ones with the unbridled joy of digging in the soil. And then … they chat about the unpredictable PEI weather. Share different ways to tickle new growth from the earth. Swap tools and stories. And so much more.
From just a few allotments when shovels first broke ground in 2014 to 150 today, the Legacy Garden has grown significantly in five short years. Over 1,000 volunteers dedicate countless hours to maintain the 8.5-acre land and the two-acre “Goodwill Garden”, providing an incredible 20,000 lbs of produce a year to local charities.
From forging strong community connections to revitalizing farming culture in the city, the PEI Legacy Garden demonstrates what can happen when a passion for planting meets a thriving and committed community.