(Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ont.) -- This fall, the Tontakaiê:rine (It Has Become Right Again) Tyendinaga Justice Circle embarked on a new project to help their clients complete their community service hours and to enhance their knowledge and skills in food sustainability.
Over the past months, members of the Tyendinaga Justice Circle (TJC) designed and built 12 above-ground garden boxes. The compact two-foot-deep bed design was intentional, so that vegetable roots could remain fresh in nutritious soil rich in composted matter at all times.
“These gardens represent a safe place for our clients,” said Mark Brinklow, TJC Program Coordinator. “This opportunity allows us to connect meaningfully with our clients, as well as reconnect with traditional ways of life that will serve them from here on forward.”
Brinklow goes on to say that since the pandemic took hold earlier this year, there has been a surge in home gardens, and food prices have escalated. The TJC team felt this was the perfect time to put the community garden initiative in place.
Early in the spring of 2021, organic seeds will be planted in shelter and then seedlings will be transferred to the garden beds when the season permits. Following the growth season where the plants will be tended by clients and staff, produce will be harvested and food preservation techniques will be taught and carried out. The final product will be shared by TJC clients in need, and donated to a number of community agencies. In addition, seedlings will be made available to community members through donation; proceeds will be redistributed to the food bank.
“This project is a way to connect with the community as a whole, not just our clients,” said Brinklow. “We are thankful to have the support and confidence of the Ministry of the Attorney General, Indigenous Justice Division, who helps to make programs like this one possible.”
Currently, the boxes reside at FNTI’s Aviation Campus. If you are interested in supporting the TJC community garden, or learning about the project’s progress, please contact Mark Brinklow at 613.827.5695 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow FNTI’s social media channels for updates on the TJC community garden!
About the Tontakaiê:rine Justice Circle
The Justice Circle is an alternative for individuals of Indigenous descent involved with the justice system. Tontakaiê:rine is an alternative to mainstream court intended for Indigenous People in conflict with the law; as such the TJC aspires to provide all participants that were affected by the ‘wrong-doing’ with a positive, transformative experience using holistic circle processes.
By focusing on natural law and the importance of upholding our responsibilities as Haudenosaunee, the TJC seeks to create healthier relationships and to promote a better understanding of Indigenous identity and belonging.