Community garden ready to ‘grow’

Summer reporter
Stephanie Hagenaars

Those with “green thumbs” rejoice! Growing season is fast approaching.
The Fort Frances Community Garden is ready to go after volunteers tilled and pulled weeds on Saturday in preparation for the new growing season.
Some of the garden’s members will be checking out their plots this weekend to start planting, although most won’t be starting until June when the threat of frost has passed.
Currently, the garden consists of 44 ground plots, 34 raised beds, and 24 kids’ plots.
Two of the kids’ plots will be set aside for a bean teepee and pumpkin patch.
Elaine Fischer, a health promoter with the Northwestern Health Unit said, some members of the garden grow to share the harvest, including donations that go to the local soup kitchen and food banks.
Primarily, though, members are growing their own produce because they do not have the ability to do so at home, she noted.
While the garden is open for people to come and go as they please, Fischer said there’s a “community feeling” amongst the members.
“Lots of information-sharing goes on at the garden,” she remarked. “We have some very, very knowledgeable gardeners.”
Popular produce varieties include potatoes, cucumbers, peas, and corn while some gardeners grow kale, spinach, and even lentils.
The community garden primarily is volunteer driven, taking care of the “behind the scenes” work such as tilling the soil, cutting the grass, organizing the sheds, and ensuring the water tanks are full.
“I probably have about a dozen very committed volunteers,” Fischer said.
“We couldn’t do it without them.”
The Kids’ Garden Club, meanwhile, also is fully run by volunteers. Every Monday starting May 28, volunteers will be at the gardens to help the youngsters throughout the season.
In addition, the garden relies heavily on contributions from the community and local businesses. There are two sheds there that are available to anyone in the program.
“Over the years, people have been great about donating tools,” noted Fischer.
“We have everything you need there to do your plot throughout the summer.”
Various businesses and agencies have provided donations to the community garden, including the Northwestern Health Unit, United Native Friendship Centre, Fort Frances High School, and Fort Frances Horticultural Society, among many others.
“We really rely on partners in the community and volunteers,” Fischer reiterated. “People have been very generous and that is the reason the garden is what it is today.
“We couldn’t do it without the generosity from the town and the people.”
The season will run until mid-October.
For more information about the Fort Frances Community Garden, contact Fischer at 274-9827 ext. 3638 or visit the FFCG Facebook page.