Max discovered the Nouvelle-Ère Pie-X Community Garden, a project by Enfant d’abord, while waiting for his first work permit in Canada. For Max, the garden is much more than a space for planting and harvesting. His work there helps him overcome his stress and adapt to a new life
Max left his country because his life was in danger, leaving behind a wife and three children temporarily as he settled into a new place and legalized his status. He first set foot on Quebec soil in the middle of winter 2023 as an asylum seeker.
An accountant by profession, he nevertheless had to wait for a work permit before starting any kind of job search. It was a particularly challenging period. In the spring, he set about looking for an organization where he could volunteer: “Instead of sitting around doing nothing, why not do something useful for the community?,” he asked himself.
A few weeks later, he joined the volunteers at the Nouvelle-Ère Pie-X Community Garden, a collaborative project launched by Enfant d’abord and the local community. “It was the idea of one of our horticulturalists, who saw the land, this vacant space, and who saw this need to create a community garden,” explained Enfant d’abord director Édith Athus. “The work is done collectively. We look at what sorts of plants, vegetables we’re going to plant in the garden together. We plant them together, we harvest them together.
“The fact of working as a team, planting seeds and filling pots with earth, and then with the other people who come, it lifted a stress I had: the family stress, the stress of my country. It’s also helped me be more sociable. I’ve met people. It helps me fit in.”
For Max, the garden is much more than a simple space for planting and food assistance.
The garden plays a vital role in food assistance in the district. In the summer of 2022, 579 kilos of vegetables were harvested that were then divided between the participants and Enfant d’abord.
Max is impatient for the next harvest. “I would like to really participate to see the benefits I contributed with my help.”
Watch Max’s testimony
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