COIL Stories

Abbey Gardens:

Community Food Hub in Haliburton, ON is a place for people, businesses, and gardens to thrive

Abbey Gardens logo
aerial shot of abbey gardens

Abbey Gardens is a local food hub that brings the community together by offering local food and products, business space, natural trails, traditional and hydroponic gardens, educational programming, and so much more. All food and products offered are made or packaged within a 200km radius of Haliburton and promote the circular food economy. Their project for COIL Activate help furthers circularity by redirecting food waste from a local grocery store and raising awareness in the community. They are also looking into more sustainable packaging choices and aim to eliminate single use plastics at the food hub.

reusable coffee cup laying a bed of purple flowers

The Impact

Raising awareness for circular solutions: Abbey Gardens encourages customers to make sustainable choices and recently implemented a mug return system in their café to educate customers on the impacts of single use items. They have also evaluated their suppliers packaging and encouraged more sustainable alternatives. This resulted in a 95% decrease in the plastics used on site.

Interactive community spaces: To strengthen community support, Abbey Gardens hosts different events, tours, and markets. This allows people to see how they are addressing food waste in the community, and to understand their produce comes from both traditional and hydroponic agriculture. They also offer kids camps, adult workshops, and pony meet and greets with the rare Ojibwe Horses.

How they made it work

By partnering with a local grocery store, Abbey Gardens diverts food waste and recirculate it into their gardens. As they have already started doing with their own food waste, partnering with a larger company was a way for them to have a much larger impact on the community. They are also exploring more ways to introduce reuse systems and/or compostable packaging wherever possible. Abbey Gardens is committed to raising awareness about the circular economy as they are always learning and sharing their knowledge with the community. 

“Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the things you could do. Start small and pick a few things that seem the most critical. You’d be surprised how fast those can snowball into really impactful action and big change!” – Ashley McAllister, Director of Operations at Abbey Gardens


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abbey gardens' team standing in front of their sign
Funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario