Monique Kelemen, Greenest City's long time program coordinator and Co-op Cred supervisor of Dunn Garden, has left us to begin a new adventure studying social work at Dalhousie University. She left us with these parting words…
"It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Greenest City and the Parkdale Community.
I came to Greenest City in 2013 looking for a volunteer opportunity to occupy my time, and I am leaving a totally different person. It is because of my time here that I have decided to move to Halifax, Nova Scotia to study Social Work at Dalhousie University.
In this community, I learned that food is just the beginning of the conversation. At Greenest City, the food grown in our community gardens is not going to lift anyone out of food insecurity, but the relationships and growth of self-esteem instead is what really affects change. I moved to Toronto – to Parkdale - at a pivotal point in my life. I was lacking in friends and confidence, but quickly found it in the gardens. And the days are rare now that I walk down Queen Street West and don't hear my name or exchange a wave across the street.
In HOPE Garden, I learned that even a tiny piece of land can mean the world to someone.
In Milky Way Garden, I learned that while we may face pesky squirrels in our own plot, our neighbour may be facing elephants.
In Dunn Garden, I learned that even the smallest of tomato plants can survive in a wind tunnel with a little support.
And in Parkdale, I learned that communities are so much richer when a diversity of lived experiences come together to share a meal.
So thank-you, to everyone that welcomed me into your community through a smile, a wave, a momo, or a tomato. I feel so fortunate to have spent four years of my life in this community and hope to return one day."
We wish her the best on her next chapter and we want to thank her for her four years of loyalty, support and hard work for the Co-op Cred program.
We will miss you Monique!!