Julia from Home Hardware, photo provided by Home Hardware

Home Hardware Stores Limited has a long-standing reputation for building communities and helping people, and the Home Hardware Community Garden is just one example of that.

Home Hardware Community Garden Plot

The national home improvement retailer established the garden in 2016 on a piece of land at its Dealer Support Centre in St. Jacobs, Ontario. The goal was to help alleviate food insecurity in the community by providing a place where corporate Team Members could grow and access their own fresh produce.
 In its first year, Home Hardware Team Members and local volunteers prepared the land by clearing out corn stalks, tilling the soil and laying pathways for crops to grow.

Home hardware team member working in the garden

Since then, thanks to the dedication and passion of Julia Swijters, who leads the project, and the many other Home Hardware Team Members who donate their time and energy, the Community Garden has flourished.

Home hardware team member picking up a freshly harvested carrot.

Today, it spans over 1.3 acres and harvests over 25 different varieties of fruits and vegetables, including yellow and green beans, potatoes, rhubarb, cucumbers, carrots, and beets. Garden plots are provided to Home Hardware Team Members and their family members, with a large section set aside to grow produce that is donated to local charities.

Home Hardware Team Donating Vegetables from their Community Garden

In 2021, one warm week in April allowed the team to get ahead on the production of beets and carrots. They also used a grower's grade black cloth to keep the weeds away and laid down cardboard and woodchips to make paths between sections. This created permanent beds that require labour over the summer and allow for the soil to develop a healthy biodiversity to better fend off pests and drought.

Carrots in front of home hardware structure.

Weather conditions also allowed Team Members to get out early and space out their seedings. Yellow and green bush beans were planted over the course of four weeks, which delivered beautiful beans to the food bank for 14 weeks straight!

Carrots grown at the Home Hardware Community Garden

In total, the Home Hardware Community Garden was able to provide 3,983 pounds of produce to local charities in 2021, including the food bank at Woolwich Communities Services in Elmira, Ontario and the Meals on Wheels program through Community Support Connections in Breslau, Ontario.  
With only a few exceptions, all the seeds used in the 2021 growing season were supplied by West Coast Seeds.

Arial view of the Home Hardware Community Garden

On behalf of all the volunteers, charities, and families whose pantries and hearts are full because of the Home Hardware Community Garden – thank you. If it were not for the generous contribution of West Coast Seeds, the garden would not have had such a successful year!

To learn more about the Home Hardware Community Garden, visit Community Garden Home Hardware - Home Hardware.