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Evergreen expands its sustainable food gardens at the Brick Works

In partnership with Foresters Financial, new raised garden beds produce over 35 new varieties of native plants and trees 

TORONTO, ONTARIO (September 6, 2022) – Evergreen is increasing learning opportunities at the Brick Works with the addition of raised container food gardens and native plantings. As part of Foresters Financial’s Growing a Better Future sustainability vision, Evergreen staff worked with Foresters employees over three months to propagate plants, build soil, landscape new garden beds, and plant trees to create seven new demonstration gardens. The new garden infrastructure is part of Evergreen’s Regenerative Landscape program, which aims to restore the ecological integrity of an area, encourage biodiversity and contribute to the sustainability of the land.

Through this unique partnership, Evergreen led workshops with over 130 Foresters staff to plant 35-plus varieties of plants, most of them perennial and native species, in seven new garden beds utilizing both livestock watering tanks and sustainable handmade cedar beds. Over the course of the summer the team planted several large paw paws trees, introduced the relatively unknown vine groundnut, and established a grove of cedar trees in the Children’s Garden. Among this year's plantings were apple, pear, mulberry and plum trees which created a living food producing fence outside the Children’s Garden. Revitalizing underused space along the entrance and alleyway to the Children’s Garden and on the west side of the site, these new gardens are accessible to program participants and visitors.

“We know that gardens with high biodiversity like this have a far greater chance of resisting climate-related stressors,” shares Luke Howie, Senior Program Manager at Evergreen. “With Foresters’ generous support and vision, Evergreen can continue to enhance our site with a greater diversity of habitat creating, food producing plants while providing even more opportunities for visitors and program participants to learn about caring for the land.”

As part of this project, the containers for the native plant beds were designed by Délı̨nę First Nations artist and printmaker Laura Grier. These new raised plant beds showcase four of North America’s most unique native edible plants - paw paw, American persimmon, groundnut and wild strawberry. The elusive yet sought after paw paw and American Persimmon are known for their luxurious tropical flavours, the ground nut for its tasty tubers, while the wild strawberry provides a delightful groundcover of tiny, sweet fruits. Together, these plants speak to the potential diversity of a regenerative landscape while providing a source of nutritious food both for pollinators and people.   

“The new gardens at Evergreen Brick Works are part of our Growing a Better Future and our vision for sustainability at Foresters. We are actively focused on climate change and sustainability; health and wellness; and inclusion and diversity. Volunteerism and community are core to our values, and we are proud that our employees were able to play a role in bringing these gardens to fruition,” shares Nicole Gourley, Global Chief Membership and Marketing Officer at Foresters Financial.

Last year, Foresters employees helped create the Guild Garden. At the centre of the Brick Works existing Children’s Garden, the Guild Garden features 25 species of plants that aid in climate change adaptability. They are specifically chosen to support beneficial insects and deter pests, protect and enrich the soil, and represent a diverse range of edible perennials, with many grown on-site at the Brick Works green house. The garden is also designed for children to learn about nature through play – for example, the garden’s centuries-old hollow white oak log offers endless opportunity for children to explore.

The new gardens will be a key component of Evergreen’s educational and camp programming, providing participants in the Visiting Schools Program and weekly programs with Indigenous youth an opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge around growing food and caring for the land.

Media contact: 

Renee Tratch | Sr. Manager, PR & Content | 
About EvergreenEvergreen is dedicated to making cities livable, green and prosperous. Since 1991, the national not-for-profit has been facilitating change in communities through connection, innovation and sustainable actions. We work with community builders across sectors to solve some of the most pressing issues cities face: climate change, housing affordability, and access to nature and public spaces. The Brick Works, located in Toronto’s ravine system, is a year-round destination where the world comes to experience sustainability in action. Once an industrial brick factory, it is an internationally renowned showcase of green design, an award-winning public space and a test site to pilot ideas that can be scaled across the country to shape our cities for the better.

About Foresters Financial

Foresters Financial is redefining the life insurance and individual savings industry across the U.S., Canada, and UK by enriching the lives, communities, and overall well-being of its members. Agents and members alike appreciate the turnkey-decisioned product offerings and end-to-end digitized sales processes that make it easy to get life insurance without traditional medical exams. State-of-the-art mobile tools help agents deliver tailored insurance protection to members. Dedicated to its members’ well-being, Foresters offers a suite of member benefits and is redefining the conventional life insurance model, bringing improved financial security and overall wellness to everyday North American families. [1] Foresters joined forces with Canada Protection Plan in 2020 to add being a leading life insurance distributor to its Canadian business. Foresters Financial is the trade name for The Independent Order of Foresters, the oldest non-denominational fraternal benefit society. For 21 straight years, The Independent Order of Foresters has received an “A” (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best. [2] 

For information purposes only.

Foresters Financial, Foresters, Helping Is Who We Are, Foresters Care, Foresters Go and the Foresters Go logo are trade names and/or trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters (a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, ON, Canada M3C 1T9) and its subsidiaries. 

Underwritten by The Independent Order of Foresters.

™Foresters Financial, Foresters, and Helping Is Who We Are are trade names and/or trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters (a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Rd, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9) and its subsidiaries.

 Canada Protection Plan is a trademark of Canada Protection Plan Inc.

[1] Foresters member benefits are non-contractual, subject to benefit specific eligibility requirements, definitions and limitations and may be changed or cancelled without notice or are no longer available.

[2] The A.M. Best rating assigned on July 29, 2021, reflects the overall strength and claims-paying ability of The Independent Order of Foresters (IOF) but does not apply to the performance of any non-IOF issued products.  An "A" (Excellent) rating is assigned to companies that have a strong ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders and have, on balance, excellent balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile when compared to the standards established by. A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best assigns ratings from A++ to F, A++ and A+ being superior ratings and A and A- being excellent ratings. See for our latest rating.

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