People’s Potato in search of volunteers for Montreal urban garden

Click to play video: 'Community garden flourishes thanks to volunteers' Community garden flourishes thanks to volunteers
WATCH: The People’s Potato community garden is back up and running for its 19th season. As Global's Cora MacDonald reports, the Concordia University initiative serves free vegan meals at the downtown campus daily thanks to the kindness of volunteers – May 9, 2018

Spring has finally sprung and along with it, the 19th edition of the People’s Potato garden.

The food collective, which provides free vegan meals out of Concordia University’s downtown campus is calling on Montrealers to head out to the NDG-based community garden and volunteer their time to a good cause.

“We feed approximately 400, 450 a day through this initiative,” said Iman Khailat, one of the project’s coordinators.”Some of the people are students, others are not. We don’t check for ID or any kind of identification.”

Khailat told Global News that although the garden has been a parallel initiative to their food provision services on campus since 1999, the organization as a whole is responsible for so much more.

READ MORE: Learning and growing: Roslyn Elementary in Westmount plants community garden

“We also provide food to like-minded community organizations, for free, or by donation, for events,” she said. “Usually like demonstrations relating to anti-oppression and topics that we care about.”

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Khailat says the garden relies on its highly diverse group of volunteers to keep the project going.

Jona Rapoport has been one of those volunteers for the last four years. She’s a retired teacher and Concordia alumni.

“I discovered this garden by walking my schnauzer, who is no longer with me, down this path,” Rapoport said. “We used to come jogging down Terrebonne and I’ve always wondered what was going on behind the fence. I saw all these young people working and I said ‘can I come and join you?’ They eventually said yes.”

But the garden doesn’t run on manpower alone.

READ MORE: Lower Sackville, NS to see community food garden sprout soon

According to Khailat, the majority of the funding comes from tuition fees and food donations from relevant organizations.

“Another portion of the food we get for the kitchen is from Moisson Montreal, which is the biggest food bank in Canada actually,” Khailat said.

And yet, she explained that the collective needs more bodies to help with the summer harvest.

“Last summer, we had about 3 to 4 volunteers pitching in on any given day,” said Khailat. “It would definitely help to have more volunteers this time around. We don’t have any required hours, we are just looking for more hands.”

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She went on to say the initiative could use a couple of dozen or so volunteers overall and that anyone interested can check out their website or Facebook page for more information.

People’s Potato serves up its free vegan meals from Monday to Friday during the school year, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at 1455 Boulevard de Maisonneuve West on the 7th floor.

Anyone looking for a warm meal, made from the ground up, is welcome to swing by and grab a bite to eat.

All they have to bring is their own container.

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