Regenerative Landscapes take root this spring
Reimagined program draws on Evergreen’s 25-plus years of experience creating inclusive green spaces.
Published on April 19, 2022
Land-based programs at Evergreen have always been guided by a shared vision and commitment to inclusive practices.
So what do we mean by Regenerative Landscapes?
Building on land-based stewardship practices, regenerative landscapes restore the ecological integrity of an area, encourage biodiversity and contribute to the sustainability of the land itself.
Collaboration is essential. Since its inception, Evergreen has been working with communities, educational and corporate partners to take environmentally-positive steps to enhancing landscapes – from urban agriculture and ecological stewardship to the creation of habitats for native plants and pollinators.
Further underlying this work is an intention to integrate Indigenous perspectives into environmental land management practices on site, engaging diverse Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and in particular, youth.
Regenerative Landscapes focuses on transforming underutilized space at Evergreen Brick Works into inclusive and welcoming green space for all. To do so, methods used must support restoring the environment, support long-term sustainability and exemplify climate change resilience.
There are three pillars to the program:
- Education and Stewardship
- Ceremony and Celebration
- Capital Improvements to the Brick Works site
Education and stewardship activities are already underway. Volunteers will return to the Brick Works this May to practice land stewardship via the group Garden Circle.
There are a few other activities that are tracking this Spring:
- Weekly land-based school programming for Native Canadian Centre of Toronto Indigenous youth
- Programs for BIPOC youth focused on connecting to nature and with each other
- Visits from the TDSB's Native Learning Centres focused on diverse land-based programming, such as fire making, nature hikes and gardening
Rebuilding and Indigenizing areas on site is another major component of the program. Evergreen is working with Terence Radford, an award-winning Métis landscape architect who has worked with Evergreen on several innovative school ground designs. These transformed spaces at the Brick Works will serve as demonstration sites for long-term ecological sustainability, climate-resilient design, and placekeeping principles.
Creating and holding space for Indigenous populations to gather is integral to the project. Over 70,000 Indigenous people call Toronto home and need inclusive and culturally relevant places to gather and perform ceremony. More information on these community events will come later in the year.
Evergreen continues to work with partners on their green space projects
Connecting to and learning from the land has always been at the root of our organization. Our first ecology programs - Learning Grounds and School Ground Greening - helped schools transform their outdoor spaces into places where students could learn about and interact with nature. This program grew into the Climate-Ready Schools pilot which focuses on how the design of schools and their schoolgrounds play in how a city or community adapts to climate change.
Urban agriculture at the Brick Works site – both the greenspaces and the urban growing operations – demonstrates sustainable ideas that can be used in communities and homes across the country. Community gardens such as the recently created the Guild Garden at the Brick Works, which provides nutritious food, supports pollinating insects and other wildlife, and fosters a regenerative ecosystem.
Learn more about these and other initiatives as part of the Regenerative Landscapes program here.