Companion planting is the practice of growing different but complementary crop varieties together that will mutually benefit one another throughout the growing season. At the Biosphere, we also consider companion planting to be our approach to food and gardens – working together with partners and ultimately getting our hands dirty to maximize benefits!

Sustainable food systems are an important part of being a UNESCO biosphere. A key factor is knowledge sharing and building capacity for people to grow their own food. Since 2008, GBB has partnered on food and garden programs and projects including community gardens, container gardening, and events.

The first area Community Garden was built in partnership with Community Living Parry Sound (CLPS) in 2009 on Waubeek Street, and is still an active and thriving garden site today. Since this time, CLPS and the Biosphere now co-manage 7 Community Garden spaces. Accessible raised beds were built in 2021 at The Hub Garden in Parry Sound, with a new accessible path to be installed this spring!

In 2021, the creation of the new Port Severn Community Garden was hugely successful thanks to the Township of Georgian Bay, Baxter Ward Lions Club, GB Heintzman Construction, and many other volunteers. This Community Garden was the inspiration for this year’s creation of the MacTier Community Garden in partnership with the municipality, Public Library, and many other groups, with plans already underway and building to take place in May!

The Biosphere’s Growing Together program is another way the GBB aims to increase food sustainability in the region with a network of area organizations and plant nurseries. As the program evolves, this year we’re including MacTier and Honey Harbour Public Schools in the creation of garden planters and learning!

Gardening is a rewarding experience with many benefits. It is a powerful way for people of all ages to connect with nature, it can have significant environmental benefits, and can even be an economical option for fresh produce.

Sunflowers add even more colour to the Port Severn Community Garden, located right in front of the Public Library. Credit: R. Pollock