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Growing spaces to create

New project aims to build "makerspaces" around Durham to teach kids importance of creating

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Justin Riley is the CEO of the Maker Garden, a new non-profit organization looking to assist future entrepreneurs build and create their ideas. Riley and his group have launched a new campaign to raise $15,000 to create its first makerspace, which would provide all the tools needed for these efforts.

Justin Riley is the CEO of the Maker Garden, a new non-profit organization looking to assist future entrepreneurs build and create their ideas. Riley and his group have launched a new campaign to raise $15,000 to create its first makerspace, which would provide all the tools needed for these efforts.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

In the future, gardens will not be just for vegetables.

The Maker Garden, a new not-for-profit organization in Durham Region, is looking to build spaces not filled with seeds and soil, but with saws and 3D printers.

Earlier this month, the group started a new campaign to raise $15,000 to launch its first “makerspace” in the region.

According to CEO Justin Riley, a makerspace is a shared space filled with tools, computers, machines and just about anything one would need to create something, then using those tools for taking ideas and bringing them to life.

“You’d have access to all the machines, you’d have access to people. So you’d be able to go into this space, share ideas, share stories, but it’s all around projects and making,” Riley explains.

Such spaces are taking hold with post-secondary institutions and incubators across the country, and both UOIT and Durham College are looking at creating spaces of their own.

Riley says such spaces are becoming a necessity in society today as more trades and hands-on programs are removed from schools. As technology continues to grow, the Maker Garden leader says the next generation needs to have the skills for the new jobs that will be created.

“We see this freight train coming and we’ve got to figure out how we’re either going to get run over, or get out of the way, or take advantage to jump on the train and go with it,” he says.

To do that, youth need to have access to the space and the tools to test, create and learn from their failures, he adds.

“We want to get those basic tools into kids’ hands,” he says.

To date, the project has received several equipment donations, including milling machines and a 3D printer, and is looking to expand the idea through partnerships with Oshawa’s Spark Centre and Autodesk, a global leader in 3D design.

Now, Riley and the Maker Garden are seeking the public’s support through donations and pre-membership sales in order to get enough money to get a space.

“Everybody that I speak to loves the vision, they love the idea. What we need to do it get people to commit,” he says. “I think once that happens it’ll explode.”

For more information or to donate to the Maker Garden, visit its website at themakergarden.com.