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#HumansOfCoopHousing: Shannon helps grow community through gardening

Published July 28, 2021

Shannon and Quinn in front of Spruce Court Co-op

At Spruce Court Co-op, Shannon is known for being a warm-hearted neighbour, a skilled gardener, and always having her Bernese Mountain Dog, Quinn, by her side.

“If you get me you get both of us,” Shannon jokes, “There are lots of kids in the co-op, and even the ones who are scared of dogs love Quinn.”

Spruce Court is a series of beautiful heritage buildings in the Cabbagetown neighbourhood of downtown Toronto.

Shannon has been a member at Spruce Court for 25 years. She’s deeply involved with her co-op, and is always encouraging other members of all ages to find ways they can help out too.

In addition to serving as the co-op’s President, Shannon has been described as “a mover and shaker on the maintenance and gardening committees”.

As someone who works in landscaping, Shannon was able to help the co-op buy plants wholesale to hold a safely-distanced plant giveaway. This helped keep members’ spirits up during the first COVID lockdown in 2020.

An eager gardening buddy of Shannon and Quinn who helped with the microgrant project

Shannon has worked hard to improve environmental sustainability at Spruce Court. She wrote her co-op’s successful application for one of CHF Canada’s 2020 Greener Co-op Microgrants. The grant allowed the co-op to work with The Backyard Urban Farm Co. to set up food gardens that got members of all ages engaged in gardening. Shannon also helped her co-op get another grant to fund insulating its roofs for greater energy efficiency.

After the pandemic, she looks forward to more opportunities to build community at Spruce Court: getting the co-op’s kids more involved in gardening, hosting a potluck with produce from the co-op’s gardens, and holding coffee and bagel socials where members can talk about what the co-op needs and how they can help.

“I’m just one of those people that likes to help people,” Shannon reflects.

Our Humans of Co-op Housing series features individuals who are making their co-ops a better place or speaking up for the importance of co-op housing. Let us know at info@chfcanada.coop who you’d like to see featured next.

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