RPIRG Green Patch

About the Green Patch

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

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 garden@rpirg.org.

Campus Orchard

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.

2022 RPIRG Green Patch News & Updates

September 6, 2022 - We are continuing to host our weekly produce pick up starting at 10am on Fridays, while supplies last. We are still harvesting beans, tomatoes, some peppers, ground cherries, herbs, and more!

September 28 and 29, 2022 - we will be hosting our annual harvest days celebration, starting at 1pm each day. Join us for our final garden shifts of the year and help us to finish harvesting veggies as well as other general clean up and maintenance in the garden and orchard. We will be hosting a volunteer appreciation event as part of the celebration on Sept 28.

graphic of RPIRG Green Patch Harvest Days celebration, Sept 28 and 29 2022

How can I volunteer?

May 3, 2022: Although we will be working outside, we request that volunteers wear a disposable style face mask (or stronger) when working within close proximity of others, and if you are entering the garden shed. We will have extras on hand for anyone who forgets. Depending on the task this might not come up, but it is a precaution. This is a slightly stronger precaution than the university is currently exercising, but as we are a separate organization we reserve the right to practice our own health and safety policies over and above the UofR. We will reassess this policy periodically throughout this season.

The main tasks that volunteers help out with can include lots of bending or kneeling (we have some foamies that can be used to support knees), some lifting/moving/dragging of heavier objects (which can be done in teams), working in hot weather, harvesting/clearing out weeds or plants that may have thorns and thistles or scratchy parts, removing temporary infrastructures such as heavy tables or fencing, and bagging plant material.

RPIRG will:

  • ensure that volunteers receive orientation information by email and in-person when starting their first shift
  • provide backup disposable masks, extra work gloves, hand sanitizer, and handwashing options
  • maintain and update the volunteer schedule so it is clear what shifts are available and how to sign-up
  • ensure volunteers are given any relevant health and safety instructions for a given task before starting work
  • ensure that all needed tools and supplies are set outside the shed
  • not pressure volunteers to take part in any tasks that volunteers feel uncomfortable doing because it is outside their skill or ability comfort zone. Volunteer and staff safety is key for us and we will happily reassign volunteers to other tasks if needed

Volunteers will:

  • wear a mask if going inside campus buildings, which is mandatory university policy as of September 1, 2020
  • maintain social distancing while volunteering
  • wear a mask when working in closer quarters with other staff or volunteers (while still social distancing). Volunteers are asked to bring their own reusable masks if possible but the RPIRG Green Patch will have disposable masks available
  • wash hands/sanitize before and after using any tools, and wipe down tools with sanitizer or wipes
  • not go in the shed without staff permission, to limit the potential of close contact
  • wear appropriate clothing
  • self-monitor their health, and not sign up for or cancel shifts if they are ill
  • refrain from volunteering if they are displaying any of the common symptoms of COVID-19 (sore throat, cough, etc.), until they have received a negative test or their symptoms are gone, or if they believe they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 until they receive a negative test
  • refrain from volunteering if they have travelled outside Saskatchewan in the last 14 days and are not displaying common COVID-19 symptoms unless they have received a negative test
  • notify Green Patch staff immediately if they test positive for COVID-19 so that shifts can be cancelled
  • notify staff if they do not feel comfortable with a given task. Volunteers do not have to take part in any task that they feel is outside their skill or ability level – for example helping to lift heavy objects. We can find another task for you no problem!

Safety guidelines for cancelling volunteer shifts

  • RPIRG will cancel volunteer shifts if it is raining hard, but not if it is just sprinkling rain. If you are unsure and it is close to your shift time, check the forecast and do not attend if there is over 1mm rain in the forecast
  • RPIRG will not schedule shifts, or will cancel them if the outside temperature is forecast to be over 30 degrees Celsius. If you have a shift coming up right away and have not yet heard if it is cancelled, you can use the current forecast as a guide
  • For both rain and heat reference, we use the Environment Canada weather forecast

What to wear/bring for your volunteer shift

  • closed toed shoes
  • long sleeve shirt
  • pants to protect legs from thorns/scratchy plants
  • hat (if sunny)
  • other weather appropriate clothing – for example rain coat if it might be a bit wet outside
  • refillable water bottle
  • work gloves that you like to use (we have some to lend)
  • face mask for entering campus and if working closely with other volunteers
What do we do?
-

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What else do we do?
-

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industrys standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

Where does the food go?
-

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industrys standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

How can I volunteer?
-

*June 30 update: Now that some restrictions have loosened, we will be moving away from our registered cohort volunteer plan and going back to using our older ongoing volunteer email list. We will still have volunteers sign up for shifts, but we will no longer be limited to 7-8 volunteers per time slot. And we will still be asking volunteers to sign in when they arrive for their shift to assist with contact tracing. Jordan will be contacting the volunteer mailing list soon to notify everyone about changes to the plan. If you are not currently on our volunteer email list, you can sign up with the form below!**

In order to maintain the safety of everyone who will be working in or having any contact with the RPIRG Green Patch and orchard due to COVID-19, we have put a number of guidelines in place that have been approved by the university, as the garden is grown on university property. As a Green Patch volunteer, you will be expected to adhere to these guidelines, and contact staff to report any needed information or to ask any questions so we can make sure you understand everything.

The main tasks that volunteers help out with can include lots of bending or kneeling (we have some foamies that can be used to support knees), some lifting/moving/dragging of heavier objects (which can be done in teams), working in hot weather, harvesting/clearing out weeds or plants that may have thorns and thistles or scratchy parts, removing temporary infrastructures such as heavy tables or fencing, and bagging plant material.

RPIRG will:

  • ensure that volunteers receive orientation information by email and in-person when starting their first shift
  • provide backup disposable masks, extra work gloves, hand sanitizer, and handwashing options
  • maintain and update the volunteer schedule so it is clear what shifts are available and how to sign-up
  • ensure volunteers are given any relevant health and safety instructions for a given task before starting work
  • ensure that all needed tools and supplies are set outside the shed
  • not pressure volunteers to take part in any tasks that volunteers feel uncomfortable doing because it is outside their skill or ability comfort zone. Volunteer and staff safety is key for us and we will happily reassign volunteers to other tasks if needed

Volunteers will:

  • wear a mask if going inside campus buildings, which is mandatory university policy as of September 1, 2020
  • maintain social distancing while volunteering
  • wear a mask when working in closer quarters with other staff or volunteers (while still social distancing). Volunteers are asked to bring their own reusable masks if possible but the RPIRG Green Patch will have disposable masks available
  • wash hands/sanitize before and after using any tools, and wipe down tools with sanitizer or wipes
  • not go in the shed without staff permission, to limit the potential of close contact
  • wear appropriate clothing
  • self-monitor their health, and not sign up for or cancel shifts if they are ill
  • refrain from volunteering if they are displaying any of the common symptoms of COVID-19 (sore throat, cough, etc.), until they have received a negative test or their symptoms are gone, or if they believe they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 until they receive a negative test
  • refrain from volunteering if they have travelled outside Saskatchewan in the last 14 days and are not displaying common COVID-19 symptoms unless they have received a negative test
  • notify Green Patch staff immediately if they test positive for COVID-19 so that shifts can be cancelled
  • notify staff if they do not feel comfortable with a given task. Volunteers do not have to take part in any task that they feel is outside their skill or ability level – for example helping to lift heavy objects. We can find another task for you no problem!

Safety guidelines for cancelling volunteer shifts

  • RPIRG will cancel volunteer shifts if it is raining hard, but not if it is just sprinkling rain. If you are unsure and it is close to your shift time, check the forecast and do not attend if there is over 1mm rain in the forecast
  • RPIRG will not schedule shifts, or will cancel them if the outside temperature is forecast to be over 30 degrees Celsius. If you have a shift coming up right away and have not yet heard if it is cancelled, you can use the current forecast as a guide
  • For both rain and heat reference, we use the Environment Canada weather forecast

What to wear/bring for your volunteer shift

 

  • closed toed shoes
  • long sleeve shirt
  • pants to protect legs from thorns/scratchy plants
  • hat (if sunny)
  • other weather appropriate clothing – for example rain coat if it might be a bit wet outside
  • refillable water bottle
  • work gloves that you like to use (we have some to lend)
  • face mask for entering campus and if working closely with other volunteers

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