Our Story

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We had a big dream to transform a spent gravel pit (300 acres) into a green space that provides economic and recreational opportunities for our community.

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Our site features local food shopping, interpretive trails, heritage breed displays, programming and event spaces, picnic areas, gardens and more!

We  Community

Abbey Gardens is a not-for profit charity providing economic and recreational opportunities for our community. Everything we do on site helps further our mission to create opportunities to learn about living more sustainably. If you want to learn about local food, gardening, energy, sustainable construction techniques, heritage agricultural animals, land restoration or cooking techniques, this is the place to visit!

From A Dream

Everything fell into place when John Patterson, a retired businessman, came up with the idea of bringing a local gravel pit back to life as a garden. He’d been to see Butchart Gardens, a national historic site near Victoria, B.C., and the Eden Project in Cornwall, U.K., the largest indoor rainforest in the world, both of which are rehabilitated open-air mines and world-class gardens.  He was inspired by the idea of creating a greenspace where the community can gather, learn and enjoy and began his search for a gravel pit in Haliburton County.

To Today

Today, our site features local food shopping opportunities through our Food Hub, interpretive trails, heritage breed displays, programming and event spaces, picnic areas and kiosks,  gardens and more!

Our Dedicated Team

Abbey Gardens employs full-time and seasonal staff to help manage our gardens, programs, retail, wholesale and daily operations.

Ashley McAllister Director of Operations & Strategic Initiatives 


Ashley’s role involves oversight of the entire operation and strategic planning for the development of the Abbey Gardens project. Ashley grew up in Haliburton County before beginning her career in the nonprofit sector with a grassroots nonprofit organization called Lawn Summer Night, specializing in creating unique lawn bowling tournaments for young professionals. In her seven years with the organization, Ashley helped raise over $4.5 million for Cystic Fibrosis Canada through peer-to-peer fundraising events, developed diverse corporate partnerships, and extensively grew the organization to twenty locations across Canada. She returned to Haliburton four years ago, buying a house on the same lake she grew up on and getting involved in the community through volunteer work with organizations like Rotaract, HSAD, Places for People, and more. 

Irene Heaven Education Coordinator


Irene oversees the development and implementation of interpretive, educational programming for Abbey Gardens. Irene is a wildlife biologist with extensive field experience nationally and internationally and has been involved in outdoor and environmental education for 19 years. 

Susan Roscoe Food Hub Manager


Along with Susan’s 25 years in the aviation industry she has had a life time interest in gardening and sustainability and is excited to now be a part of the Abbey Gardens team. Susan combines her keen interest in food and health with a love of listening and learning from other people to her role as store manager.

Cara Steele, Program Coordinator & Ecological Specialist


Cara oversees restoration projects on the property including design, plant sourcing, implementation, volunteer management, and community outreach.   Her academic and professional background is in ecological restoration.  She has over 10 years of experience in this  field and has completed forest, grassland, shoreline, pollinator garden, and wetland restoration projects.  She also facilitates many of the gardening and ecology-based workshops conducted at Abbey Gardens. 

Kyrie Stoll, Business Support


Kyrie assists with business incubation, operations, wholesale, events, and markets – call her a “Jill of all trades!” She comes with many years of experience in customer service and is passionate about local food. Kyrie is a wonderful addition to our growing team! 

Misty Zaranik, Garden Manager


Misty is passionate about nurturing nutrient dense plant growth through harvest while experimenting with permaculture design and renewed horticultural practices and working with the moon phases. 

With a background in design and as a first generation grower, Misty operated a small market garden on her homestead in Ilderton, Ontario. In relocating to beautiful Haliburton, Misty is excited to share in exploring living more sustainably and continuing to support connection with food, community, and nature. 

Our Board

Abbey Gardens is governed by a Board of Directors that meet monthly to evaluate the long-term strategic direction of the organization. View more about our board members by clicking below.

Janis Parker

Cheryl McCombe

John Patterson
Terry O’Connor
Barb Bolin
Curtis Eastmure
Marianne Fenninger

Brenda Smith

Find us at 1012 Garden Gate Drive, Haliburton,ON.     705.754.GROW (4769)

We’re always looking for youth interested in making a difference in their community.
Whether you’re looking to volunteer once or get involved with a regular role, we have something for you! Volunteering with us is a great way to gain skills in gardening, ecology, education, livestock care and retail management all while gaining your Community Service Hours. Browse the volunteer roles above to find the one that's right for you or check out our Leaders In Training program below- exclusively for youth!

Leaders in Training (LIT) Program

Experience the fun of camp while learning leadership skills through our Leaders in Training (LIT) program! Work alongside an experienced educator to deliver camp programs this season. LIT's practice their skills by leading games, crafts and activities and shadowing education staff during camp programs.  A hands-on opportunity to cultivate self-awareness, communication and cooperation skills all while getting community service hours.
What makes our Leaders in Training program so unique? A one-of-a-kind opportunity to participate in a 3 hour professional development session during an orientation day prior to your camp experience....with our horses! Working with our ponies and experienced trainers, LIT's complete activities with our ponies designed to help identify leadership styles, gain confidence and learn appropriate assertiveness. The orientation day is held on Friday June 30th from 9:30am-4:30pm. Cost is $50 per person (includes lunch).
Our Leaders in Training program is perfect for youth ages 15-17.
To get started, submit a cover letter and resume to Irene Heaven, irene@abbeygardens.ca by June 16th. Cover letter should express why you'd like to take part in this program, as well as the camp(s) you'd like to assist with and the dates you're available. Please note that you must attend the orientation day to participate in our Leaders in Training Program. See our CAMP BROCHURE for a list of camps to choose from.