Faith & the Common Good (FCG) is a multi-faith not for profit organization that helps faith communities of all faith beliefs and all cultural backgrounds, to green their faith buildings and surrounding property.
Faith & the Common Good were fortunate to receive an Ontario 150 grant. It provided the opportunity for youth of different religions and cultural backgrounds, to create 8 native plant gardens in 3 cities this Spring; Ottawa, Halton/Oakville and Toronto. Toronto FCG chapter chose 3 faith sites; Shaarei Shomayim Congregation, Manor Road United Church, and the International Muslim’s Organization of Toronto (IMO).
On Friday, November 17, Donna Lang, Toronto Animator for Faith & the Common Good and Harold Smith, attended Friday prayers at IMO. After the service, Donna presented a garden plaque to Omar Farouk, Executive Director of the International Muslim’s Organization of Toronto (IMO).
Omar Farouk of IMO commented on the attendance of 3 different religions at the prayer service. “It is fitting that we have representation from 3 different religions here today. Donna Lang, Harold Smith and our congregation represent the 3 religions, Christian, Jewish and Muslim, and all of these originate from the Father Abraham. We have many complementary stories and passages in our respective religious texts, due to our common roots”.
“First Peoples, First Plants” is the title of the gardening plaque presented to the IMO congregation, and these words are meant to honour and recognize the contribution of the indigenous people of this land. Native plants were before the settlers arrived and they are low maintenance and drought resistant, due to the fact that they are original to the land.
Donna thanked Sarah Narine and Atik Patel, the 2 youth leaders at IMO, who helped with the garden. Atik recruited youth for planting day and also was responsible for the video coverage. Sarah was in charge of planting day and she did a fantastic job of organizing the plants and showing the youth where to plant. There was also a demonstration, to show the youth how to plant.
Donna also thanked Harold Smith, who is Chair of the North American Native Plant Society. Harold did the garden designs and plant selection for each of the Toronto gardens.
“We were very lucky to have such an experienced garden designer on board”, said Donna Lang. “We feel very fortunate to have worked with the IMO youth, who were fast learners and hard working. It was a delight to see their happy faces at the end of the planting day”.