Friday, April 19, 2013

The Canada-wide influence of Duffern Grove Park

This is my old cob bread oven, now long departed.
The influence of the visionary activities at Dufferin Grove Park is felt in spots across the country, including this little park in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Folks there have built a cob oven for community use that serves to bring people together, sharing in work and the rewards thereof.

Here's a quote from a recent article published in The Coast weekly newspaper about the oven:

When Jeff Overmars and his wife lived in Toronto a few years ago, a Sunday potluck at Dufferin Grove Park's bake oven was part of their routine. The weekly event made a community hub out of the winning combination of public space and good food.

When the pair moved into a yardless condo, they took up a plot at the nearby Dartmouth Common Community Garden where Overmars met fellow gardener Billy Lewis. Lewis, a veteran in food education, told Overmars of a pizza garden project he'd done with youth in Vancouver--- and that's when the wheels started turning.

"I thought, how great would it be for Billy to do that and for there to be an oven nearby where people could actually take the produce they'd be growing and make a pizza," says Overmars, who then took the idea straight to the area's councilor, Gloria McCluskey. "I met with her just to gauge interest and she was enthusiastic from the beginning."

After McCluskey helped to fund the project, Overmars gathered a small core group of volunteers to brainstorm and make plans, and it wasn't long before the Park Avenue Community Oven became a reality. There was a slight hitch, though. Some park regulars and nearby neighbours expressed concerns about how the project could change the space, and how quickly it was moved along...

Read this article to see how it turned out. Hint: it's yummy.

More information on the Park Avenue Community Oven can be found at

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