The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) has launched the annual community garden, called Omaanake Gagii-Dazhii Maamaw Ombigiyang, which means ‘A Place We Grow Together’. This year’s community garden initiative is being run in partnership with the Thunder Bay Family Network and was planted with the assistance of ONWA clients and community members. Roots to Harvest was also on hand to provide support and guidance.

Throughout the community garden initiative, members of the community are encouraged to participate in the maintenance of the garden, partake in cultural teachings, benefit from the fresh produce, and enjoy a sense of community as we “grow together.”

“Embedded within traditional Aboriginal culture is a great deal of respect for Mother Earth,” explains Erin Corston, ONWA Executive Director. The community garden, “Omaanake Gagii-Dazhii Maamaw Ombigiyang”, provides a wonderful opportunity to share our respect for Mother Earth, traditional teachings surrounding earth preservation and traditional medicines, and of course, fresh produce, with our community members.”

In addition to healthy vegetables such as corn, tomotoes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage and potatoes that were graciously donated by George’s Market and Vanderwees, this year’s garden also features a medicine tree. Planted in the medicine tree garden are the Four Sacred Medicines; sweet grass, sage, cedar and tobacco, which are commonly used in many traditional Aboriginal healings and ceremonies.

Community members are invited to participate and to benefit not only from the fresh produce and medicines, but from the knowledge of how to plant and maintain their own gardens, which is a great way to encourage healthy eating and personal food security.

For more information about the garden and how you can get involved, contact ONWA at 807-623-3442 or visit