The mind.heart.mouth intergenerational garden offers a positive and innovative approach to building community care and resilience through nature-based experiential learning, which is essential at this time of health, social, and environmental crises.
Since its creation in 2019, mind.heart.mouth has gotten most of its help from SAF and the Sustainability Living Lab. This support has made it possible to work with a number of sustainability projects at Concordia, in line with the goals and targets of the University’s Sustainability Action Plan, showing the potential of urban agriculture and its positive social effects.
Growing food is the most obvious outcome of the garden, and we provide food to community emergency food basket initiatives and food banks at Concordia and beyond. But working together to develop community values and culture based on inclusivity, equity, and diversity across generations is one of the garden’s most crucial goals.
Many people who are food insecure experience stigmatization and may not have access to land or space to grow food. This collective garden model allows everyone to work and learn in the entire garden while benefiting from a wide variety of foods. Everyone who volunteers in the garden has the opportunity to learn various approaches and methods for growing food in an urban setting.
Promoting intergenerational interaction and relationships, the garden environment is a safe space that is conducive to bringing younger and older people closer to learn, share, and communicate. Connecting an interdisciplinary doctoral research to the development of sustainable practices and experiential learning for students and older adults, mind.heart.mouth works with faculty to provides a space that supports the integration of sustainability across disciplines .
Any member of the Concordia community can volunteer to work in the garden, and as little as one hour of work can be rewarded with free, fresh organic produce from the day’s harvest that is divided among volunteers. During the school year, all extra food is delivered to the Loyola Hive Free Lunch Program, and during the summer, to a neighbourhood food bank.