Photo: Homegrown National Park springs into Toronto for another year

Homegrown National Park Rangers prepare to plant a canoe garden. (Credit: Jode Roberts)

By Jode Roberts

This spring the Homegrown National Park project returns to Toronto for its second year.

The ambitious effort to crowd-source a green corridor fit for birds, bees and butterflies through Canada's largest city will be bigger this year — expanding to five city wards — and is sure to bring even more nature home to the city, one fun green intervention at a time.

We're partnering again with great local organizations, like Park People, Evergreen, Not Far From the Tree, LEAF and Jane's Walk. We've reached out to dozens of neighbourhood groups. A handful of last year's projects and events will continue, including efforts to bring canoe planters to city parks and the season-capping Homegrown Park Crawl. The second year will also feature an architectural design challenge, garden contest and an overnight camp-out in the city.

Most importantly, another crop of two-dozen Homegrown Park Rangers will report for duty in March. They'll be walked through a two-day community organizing boot camp, which will arm them with great ideas and community connections. Then they'll be let loose on their neighbourhoods.

The project aims to both bring nature home to the city and connect Torontonians to nature by tapping the creative energy of locals. Last year's amazing interventions — like pothole planters, moss graffiti and pollinator gardens — demonstrated that residents can be empowered to make awesome things happen in their neighbourhoods. And these small, fun actions help build toward the ultimate goal of a greener, healthier city.

To learn more about what's happening with the Homegrown project this year, check out