PlazaPOPS coming to Shelldale Centre this month

Our Food Future, Kindle Communities and Guelph Community Health Centre hosting a pop-up urban garden to help connect residents to the local food movement 

Guelph, Ont., July 11, 2023—The plazaPOPS project returns to Guelph this summer with the help of Our Food Future’s Reimagine Food initiative and a team of community collaborators. The pop-up garden boxes and gathering space will occupy five parking spaces at the Shelldale Centre (20 Shelldale Avenue). The installation will include a shaded lounge with accessible seating nestled among a garden of native plants, pollinators, and fresh herbs.  

PlazaPOPS is a community-led, high impact, low cost installation that transforms parking lots into free, accessible gathering places designed to encourage community connectedness and conversations. PlazaPOPS is the brainchild of University of Guelph Landscape Architecture collaborators Daniel Rotsztain and Professor Brendan Stewart.  

“We’ve been bringing people, ideas, and technology together to build a local movement toward a circular food economy. The plazaPOPS project is a natural fit to connect more community members with food-focused public spaces and encourage conversations about how we improve food access by growing food in any environment, even a parking lot,” said Ashlee Cooper, manager, Food Equity and Community Resilience with Our Food Future. 

Several local organizations are collaborating on the project. The space will be put together July 12 and 13 with the help of volunteers from Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington and the local Onward Willow community. The SEED and Shelldale Farm Park community gardeners will plant and take care of the garden beds. Other partners include Kindle Communities who are providing access to the space, and Guelph Community Health Centre. 

“As a research project led by the University of Guelph’s Landscape Architecture program, plazaPOPS’ roots are in Guelph. We’re thrilled for this installation to be coming to the Onward Willow neighbourhood. Our aim is to enable the creation of safe, comfortable, and accessible community gathering places that embody the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of residents. We’re also excited to see pieces from our original installation brought to life by Our Food Future,” said plazaPOPS executive director, Rotsztain. 

The space will be unveiled and open to the public from July 15 until mid October. When the installation is taken down, all plants and soil will be donated to the community. Community members are encouraged to visit and spend time enjoying the space. 

About Our Food Future  

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build Canada’s first tech-enabled circular food economy that will achieve a 50 percent increase in access to affordable nutritious food, create 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50 percent increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.  

Our Food Future demonstrates one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone. 

Media contact 

Ashlee Cooper 
Manager, Food Equity and Community Resiliency
Smart Cities Initiative
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3544 
[email protected]