Gardens by Refugees and Other Newcomers Welcomed (GROW)

What Is Gardens by Refugees and Other Newcomers Welcomed (GROW)?

GROW (Gardens by Refugees and Other Newcomers Welcomed) is a new project funded by the Calgary Foundation, based at our southeast Forest Lawn location. Run by a committee of 19 green-thumbed, garden-loving refugees and newcomers calling themselves the CIES Students’ Gardening Committee, the project will establish a mini-garden that will benefit the Society and its community throughout the spring and summer of 2017. While the harvested vegetables can supplement the meals of low-income families, the gardens will also offer an opportunity for newcomers to learn about gardening in Canada, get to know each other, work together, and build a sense of community in their new city.

A second component of GROW is its classroom-based learning activities such as the ‘Classroom Plant’. Classes in the southeast will be assigned a particular potted, flowering plant or vegetable, and with the teacher’s guidance and encouragement be tasked with its care and eventual harvest. This activity will serve as an introduction to the larger outdoor project, where interested students can apply to participate.

Finally, the project will culminate in a new summer Harvest Festival, where we will celebrate the ‘fruits’ of the participants’ labours and feature multicultural dishes prepared using food grown in the gardens. The festival will serve as a chance for the participants, many of whom are refugees, to express their thanks to Calgary and Canadians for the hospitality and generosity shown towards them since their arrival. If you’re in and around the community this summer, please stop by! We welcome any and all encouragement and yes… even gardening tips.


Am I Eligible?

  • Any CIES client, student or staff member based at the Society’s southeast Forest Lawn location is invited to participate.  The commitment is not more than a few hours per week. Please contact Cesar Suva for more information.

When Is This Class?

  • While outdoor gardening begins in mid-May, sporadic activities such as seedling-planting and planter box-building will occur through the months of March and April.  Contact Cesar Suva for more information on current activities.
  • The commitment required for this program is not more than a few hours each week.

Where Is This Program?

This program is offered at one location:

  • Calgary Immigrant Educational Society: 1723 – 40th Street Southeast, Calgary, AB. T2A 7Y3.
    • For more information, call 403-235-3666.

  • There is no online registration for this program. If you are interested, please contact Cesar Suva for more information on current activities.

What Else Should I Know?