WHAT IS IT
Sustain Your Community was a Demonstration Project by the Ottawa EnviroCentre. It showed the power of grass-roots initiatives for sustainability in three different types of communities:
- Urban (Lowertown)
- Suburban (Kanata North) and
- Rural (West Carleton).
Community initiatives developed under five Biosphere Eco-City Themes: Transportation, Energy, Food, Natural Capital and Sense of Place.
OBEC supported Sustain Your Community with four volunteers over the full three years of the project – 2014 to 2017.
- Map by Transportation Action Committee Kanata shows all cycling routes and safety levels
- Provides safe cycling routes for children going to school, family leisure rides and connections for commuter cycling.
- Serves as template for bicycle route mapping in the rest of Ottawa
PEDAL PLAY RODEO
- Annual day for family riding with instruction on safe cycling skills in Kanata North
- Created tool kit for use in other communities
- Pedal Play has now been applied in another part of Ottawa
- Free public workshops on safe cycling and bike repair in Lowertown and Kanata
- Free bicycle repair in Lowertown
- Installation of a self-use bicycle repair station in Kanata.
- ‘Bike to work’ event and survey in Kanata North industrial park
- Survey led to significant infrastructure improvements for public transit and cycling.
BICYCLE SAFETY EQUIPMENT FOR CHILDREN
- Freely distributed in Lowertown.
ENERGY CONSERVATION WORKSHOPS
- Workshops on green energy (e.g. heat pumps and solar panels), understanding energy bills, and home energy retrofits in Kanata and Lowertown.
- Audit of each type of housing in Beaverbrook, Kanata
- Audits posted on line so all residents could see cost effective ways to increase energy savings.
- Profiles energy upgrades made in Kanata North
FOOD PRODUCTION AND PRESERVATION WORKSHOPS
- Workshops on techniques such as SPIN Farming (http://spinfarming.com/whatsSpin/), Permaculture (https://eonpermaculture.ca/) and regular gardening in West Carleton.
- Workshops for adults and children on food preservation in West Carleton.
- Workshops on gardening, seed saving and canning in Lowertown.
GREAT BIG CRUNCH
- Event for 800 people eating local vegetables in West Carleton.
- free supper of delicious, locally food and a discussion of food distribution In Kanata North
- Support to develop community gardens in Lowertown and Kanata.
- Community sharing garden in Lowertown
- Solar powered water pump for community garden in Kanata North
- Water collection system for West Carleton Community Garden.
COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE
- Residents invest in a farm and receive fresh produce weekly throughout the growing season.
- Began with 20 families in Beaverbrook, Kanata
- Also linked farmers in West Carleton with consumers in Kanata.
- Weekly organic farm stand at Beaverbrook mall in Kanata.
GOOD FOOD BOX
- Affordable healthy food introduced to people in Kanata North, West Carleton and Lowertown
- Significant saving over store prices, and recipes included in food box
- Pre-order a box of vegetables and fruit on a monthly basis (https://ottawagoodfoodbox.ca/)
WEST CARLETON FOOD SYSTEM
- Use of local food from West Carleton in Ottawa Good Food Box
- Development of community cold storage so West Carleton farmers can sell crops in winter
- Grant of $125,000 from Community Foundation of Ottawa
LET’S TALK FOOD
- One day workshop on locally-grown food for residents of Lowertown, Kanata North and West Carleton
- Topics included: Successful gardening, Cooking healthy food on a budget, Locally-adapted crops, Seed saving, Starting a social enterprise, Food safety, Food stands, Market operations.
- Guests from food training and distribution centre in Smiths Falls (https://tworiversfoodhub.com)
- Children learning about nature in West Carleton.
XERISCAPING A PUBLIC PARK
- Use of plants that don’t need watering, only rainfall
- Demonstrated through conversion of flower beds in a public park in Kanata North
- increased use of water barrels in Kanata North and West Carleton.
Sense of Place
BEAVERBROOK SUSTAINABILITY MURAL
- Children of Beaverbrook painted a large mural of their vision for the future of their community
- Mural went to different locations, including several months in children’s section of the library.
SUSTAINABILITY AT KANATA FAIRS
- Information and surveys on sustainability, promotion of local farming, and linking on community topics in Kanata North
KANATA LAKES HAPPENING
- A meet up and FaceBook page for this part of Kanata North
- Designed to increase interaction of residents in the community.
PLAY IN THE PARK
- Linkage to local weekly outdoor play group for families with children.
For more information (https://www.envirocentre.ca/initiatives/sustain-your-community/)
WHAT TO DO NOW
Sustain Your Community shows that any community can develop grass roots initiatives for sustainability. This was a demonstration project and community associations may wish to follow its lead. For more information on Sustain Your Community contact the Ottawa EnviroCentre (https://www.envirocentre.ca/initiatives/sustain-your-community/)
OBEC would like to develop sustainability plans for the three pilot communities of Sustain Your Community, to maintain their momentum. It could do this in other communities as well. To create a community sustainability plan view an example on the OBEC website (http://obec-evbo.ca/hintonburg-community-sustainability-plan) and contact the OBEC secretariat (Secretariat.OttawaBEC@gmail.com).