At the University of Toronto Students' Administrative Council, a curious plot is unfolding over the organic food garden that surrounds the building. Now a pile of dry twigs and dirt, it once teemed with fresh veggies.
Hungry students and community members were encouraged to help themselves to a wide range of free fresh organic greens. A green-thumbed group calling itself the OPIRG Equity Gardeners took meticulous care of the patch, but no longer. So what gives?
NOW reached U of T Students' Union general manager Rick Telfer .
He says student council and the orgs behind the community garden when it started back in 98 came up with the idea of hiring a part-time garden coordinator to manage the plot.
Only, when the head of OPIRG Equity Gardeners didn't get the job, things got ugly.
She claimed discrimination. The OPIRG gardeners rallied behind her.
Then the garden coordinator whose hiring caused the backlash decided to seek greener pastures and not return to work the garden this year, which is why the patch has gone to seed.
As for the charges of discrimination, "The claim is patently absurd," Telfer says.
He says UTSU has always been happy about having a Food for All Organic Community Garden, "as long as it doesn't interfere with our operations."
Whether it's due to shady politics or quarrelsome gardeners -- the head of OPIRG Equity Gardeners has been barred from council property -- there's nothing sprouting in the soil at the foot of U of T's student government. Telfer says the search is on for another coordinator, and he's talked to some locals who've expressed an interest in growing herbs.
But if the garden remains a dusty wasteland for much longer, Telfer says a maintenance crew will lay sod to integrate the garden beds with the surrounding lawn.