Gardens of plenty at Gordon Bell


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This article was published 13/09/2021 (630 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The heat wave and drought were detrimental to many gardens this summer but the community garden at Gordon Bell High School did well.

Raymond Ngarboui, community organizer with the Community Education Development Association, estimates that almost 3,000 pounds of vegetables were grown at the green space and in planters outside the school. He led 20 students who tended the garden as part of their jobs on the Gordon Bell Green Team this summer. Most of the students attended Gordon Bell High School but a few go to Collège Louis-Riel.

Djimie Tgoï and Mariette Debó are both 16 and going into Grade 11 at Collège Louis-Riel.

Photo by Anne Hawe Raymond Ngarboui (at left), community organizer with the Community Education Development Association, is pictured with members of the GBHS Green Team in the community gardens at Gordon Bell High School.

“We didn’t know each other at school even though we were in the same class and are both from Cameroon,” Tgoï said. “We became friends through this.”

“It was really fun,” Debó agreed (with Tgoï translating from French). “Last summer I was home most of the time, this got me out of the house.”

The GBHS Green Team learned how to do everything related to the garden, from preparing the ground to tilling, planting, weeding, thinning and harvesting as they gardened alongside knowledgeable volunteer mentors, including some of their teachers. They also helped gardeners at the Rainbow Gardens at the University of Manitoba and at another large community garden in Niverville.

Potatoes, squash, bitter melons, carrots, corn, strawberries, tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini and more flourished in the GBHS community garden thanks to the diligence of the Green Team and water from the school that kept the garden’s two water tanks full.

The students managed well in the heat.

“They took a lot of breaks inside,” Ngarboui said.    

Signage lets people know that they can pick some veggies and many do. One woman showed her gratitude by cycling over with a chocolate zucchini cake she had baked for the students from zucchini she had picked. A bit of time spent weeding is always appreciated, too. 

When they weren’t gardening, the GBHS Green Team could sometimes be found in the commercial kitchen at Knox United Church, helping people who were preparing meals using some of the veggies. The food was then distributed to a lineup of people outside the church.

On Saturdays they often brought vegetables harvested from the community gardens and sold them for a reasonable price at one of the tables in the Central Global Market held outside the church.

While they had a great time together distributing food, some of which they had grown themselves, during the market, they also learned about the importance of food security as they were helping so many people in the inner core of the city who don’t have enough to eat.


Anne Hawe is a community correspondent for the West End. She can be reached at

Anne Hawe

Anne Hawe
West End community correspondent

Anne Hawe is a community correspondent for the West End. She can be reached at

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