The RPIRG Green Patch is a 5400 sq ft vegetable garden behind the Dr. John Archer Library at the U of R. It’s a source of sustainable, locally grown organic food – part of a campus movement for community engagement and sustainable development.
Launched on March 28th 2012, it is a response to the need for urban centres to invest in sustainable, locally grown, secure food sources. In May 2019 RPIRG expanded the Green Patch by planting a perennial orchard in an adjacent courtyard, in partnership with the University of Regina.
Each year RPIRG hires a student to act as the Green Patch Coordinator, to maintain the garden, manage volunteers, and do outreach work. The Green Patch intends to achieve six strategic objectives in order to foster student and staff engagement, and to act as a model for sustainable development:
* Educate on horticulture, food security, and healthy eating habits
* Engage students and staff in a community project with positive social impacts
* Produce high quality vegetables for free/low cost
* Enhance the beauty of the campus landscaping
* Value environmental sustainability, responsibility, and diversity
* Support community partners and residents of Regina
What else do we do?
In addition to planting, weeding and watering; there are plenty of other things that happen in and around the garden every year!
The Green Patch Coordinator occasionally sets up workshops or other social events throughout the garden season. To learn more, you can stay tuned to this page, our RPIRG Green Patch Facebook page, or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
Over the last several years the Green Patch has delivered produce to community organizations while also being open to students and other campus community members to harvest or collect food. At the end of every year there is a harvest celebration where volunteers and community members alike, gather to collect the last crops of the season. This is a great time to talk, laugh and eat and celebrate a gardening season well done!
Where does the food go?
When the Green Patch is open for the season, any member of the campus or wider community is free to access any produce that is ready to be picked. We also occasionally do tabling or other outreach to provide produce directly to students. We also donate a lot of our produce to Carmichael Outreach, a local community based organization (CBO) that provides a range of programming that includes preventative measures and harm reduction. We also occasionally donate to other CBOs or initiatives as well.
Volunteers also are given a portion of the crop, as a reward for all their hard work throughout the growing season! One of the great perks to volunteering!
If you have any additional questions about the garden, feel free to email our garden coordinator at email@example.com
***Green Patch 2020 final report can be found here***
COVID 19 Produce Distribution Plan
This year we will still be donating produce to students and the wider community. But the way it is distributed will look a bit different as the garden itself is closed to the public, due to COVID-19 safety precautions. We’ll adjust the plan during the season as needed and we thank you ahead of time for your patience while we figure things out.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Unless you are coming during the weekly pickup time, please make sure you contact our Green Patch Coordinator Tayef to make arrangements for visits at any other time, to ensure we have a staff person on site. You can reach Tayef by call/text (639.999.5025) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). This is to ensure that COVID 19 safety precautions remain intact – thank you in advance for respecting this request.
As in past years, we will be donating a portion of our produce to our existing community partners who operate food programs – namely Carmichael Outreach but this year we will also donate to Soul’s Harbour Rescue Mission and the URSU Cares Pantry.
Weekly pickup time
**September 1 update: our harvests are starting to slow down, so we will have less produce for the next few Fridays. Please come as close to 2pm for pickup as possible, and if you are planning to come after 3pm text or call Tayef to confirm availability**
Starting August 7 and until September 10 (changed from September 18), we’ll be offering a weekly produce pickup time on Fridays from 2-5pm that will priority serve students in need. This will be offered on a first come/first serve basis, and people will be able to pick 1-2 bags of vegetables (depending on demand and availability) from what is in season each week. Before the pickup time each week we will post a list of what is available on the weekly pickup Facebook event page, and we’ll have everything rinsed and set out on a table to collect from. Due to weather or high demand, we can’t guarantee how much produce will be available each week. You can call or text Tayef ahead of time before you come to confirm if there is still produce available.
Pickup location – RPIRG Green Patch garden on the University of Regina Academic Green – see this map for the best place to park and how to get to the garden from there. Please note that most entrances to campus buildings are currently closed due to COVID19 so walking from the Kisik towers parking lot, through the red marked route on the map is the quickest way to get to the Green Patch
Other things to consider
- We highly request you to wear masks, for the safety of others picking up food and our staff. We will have a limited amount of disposable ones available at the Green Patch. We will also have hand sanitizer available
- Please give space to others picking up produce – there is plenty of room on the adjoining green space or in the nearby shade to wait
- Please bring your own bag or bin if possible – we will aim to have some available when we can
- We humble ask you to consider only taking a couple of each variety of larger vegetables (zucchini, squash, etc.). In our first week each person was able to receive about 6lbs of vegetables.
- If we run out of produce, we’ll update our facebook event page to confirm. You can also check ahead of time to confirm by texting or calling Tayef (639.999.5025)
- We do not currently have the capacity to put holds on vegetables for people for these pickup times. If you are unable to make it on Friday afternoons, please see below about arranging other times
Special pickup times
We would like as many people as possible to pick up produce at the weekly pickup times, to make things simpler and easier for everyone including our staff. However we recognize that for some this is not an option. If you’d like to request a special pick up time, please make sure you contact Tayef ahead of time so he can make sure there is a staff person on site when you arrive, and vegetables available and ready. We will also try to accommodate delivery requests if possible, depending on staff and volunteer availability. Tayef can be contacted at 639.999.5025 or email@example.com
We look forward to seeing you on the green and getting some veggies in your hands!
2020 RPIRG Green Patch News & Updates
June 23, 2020:
We have had to make some changes to our operations in 2020 due to COVID19. You can find our general operations update here
Green Patch Virtual Tours starting July 1, 2020:
Gardens are an important social hub of understanding food and nutrition, doing physical activities, making social connections within the neighbourhood and boosting mental health. They are an important way for many of us to experience nature and understanding of the value of biodiversity to a resilient world. Access to gardens also inspires many people to start gardening and become a better gardener in future.
To help flatten the curve of COVID-19, the Green Patch garden is closed to the public this season for the first time in its 9 year history. However, we will still be providing online garden tours. While we recognize that virtual garden tours are not quite the same, we still think they can provide lots of great learning opportunities
If you’d like to book a Green Patch garden tour, they will be available anytime from Monday to Saturday, starting from July 1st, 2020.
You can book using this form
In 2019, after years of working with the University in its process of redeveloping the northwest corner of the Academic Green, RPIRG installed the first phase of a public perennial orchard. A wide variety of fruit bearing trees, shrubs, and plants as well as pollinator flowers were put in place and are still in the process of becoming established. Over time, this first phase of plants will take root and expand to fill in the various orchard beds, and each year RPIRG will be working to manage weeds and assess the health of each plot. In the coming years we plan to install some more permanent signage to both mark the garden and provide educational opportunities to learn about the space.
Due to COVID and the need to reduce the amount of volunteers on site, our current capacity/priorities have been to maintain existing plants and try to keep on top of weeding using organic gardening principles, while each year adding to a general maintenance guidebook. It’s our goal to continue to consult with both campus and community experts in gardening and pest management to help the orchard space thrive, and fill in other parts of the orchard beds with more pollinators, edible plants, and fruiting species.