Annisha has been involved with the LEAF TCH Planting and Stewardship Initiative since 2020, where she has been caring for 19 trees planted on her TCH property. In 2021 she received 11 native shrubs, which she planted and now also cares for. Because of her enthusiasm and desire to learn more about the urban forest, Annisha was invited to attend the LEAF Tree Tenders Training program. She completed the course this spring, and is now putting her newly gained tree skills to action by engaging her neighbours in the care of the new shrubs and trees in her community.
When asked what she enjoys about working with LEAF, Annisha explained, “I love being able to choose what trees are planted in my community.” A big part of the work LEAF does with TCH communities is finding the right tree for the right place. Annisha stressed the importance of planting trees in urban communities. She summarized, “It is essential that people realize the importance of planting trees as the stewards of this planet. I would remind them that trees are our life source. Take care of nature, nature takes care of us.”
In addition to volunteering with LEAF, Annisha has also created a women’s organization called Momma’s Healing Garden, which is focused on holistic healing, connecting people with nature and building community. “Starting an urban garden is one of the best ways to help people heal on a mental, physical, spiritual level.”
One of the ways Annisha’s urban garden supports her community is by providing organic vegetables to local community members and by planting fruit trees. Annisha explained, “This community has high food insecurity. That is why I am so interested [in the project], aside from the fact that trees clean the air. The more trees we plant, the better we are.” Annisha wants to help people access healthier food options than what is offered at local food banks and charities.
LEAF is proud to support individuals like Annisha who are dedicated stewards of their community.
This blog is the third in a series that highlights some of the amazing community members we’ve met through our Toronto Community Housing Planning and Stewardship Initiative. This blog was written by Nuradin Mohamed-Nur, based on an interview he conducted with Annisha Stewart.
Nuradin Mohamed-Nur is a TCH Stewardship Assistant with LEAF.
The TCH Planting and Stewardship Initiative is implemented by LEAF, TCH and the City of Toronto. It is funded by the City of Toronto's Urban Forestry Grant and the TD Green Space Grant from TD and the Arbor Day Foundation.