Public interest sought for community garden

Heather Latter

A meeting to gauge interest in continuing with—or further developing—a local community garden is being held tomorrow afternoon in the boardroom at the Northwestern Health Unit office here.
Anyone who is interested is encouraged to attend.
“We want to find out what kind of capacity we have locally to develop, or expand, our existing project,” said Becky Holden, a health educator with the Northwestern Heath Unit.
She noted a small garden was run at the family housing unit at Sixth Street and Webster Avenue this past summer.
“We need to find out what kind of commitment from the public we can get to develop a larger project, or at least continue with this smaller project,” Holden remarked, adding they would need support from quite a few people in order to run a larger community garden.
“We need people at all stages—not just the gardening stage,” she stressed.
Holden explained a planning group would need to be formed to write proposals to find money or fundraise, as well as scout for locations.
“The meeting is open to the public, and we’ll have to see if there are people who will take on some leadership roles for this project,” she said.
Holden would like to see community support for a local garden because of its many benefits.
“A community garden is a great way to provide people with the skills who don’t know how to garden, offering them the opportunity to learn how to garden, as well as for people who know how to garden but don’t have garden space or can no longer maintain large gardens,” she noted.
A community garden also promotes food security.
“If we are growing our own food, it’s more affordable,” Holden reasoned.
And she noted a community garden can be run many different ways. For instance, plots could be rented out and those people be responsible for their own area, or the whole garden can be maintained with everyone pitching in.
“Our project this summer was an open garden,” Holden explained. “People could come work on it and take what they wanted.
“We actually donated a lot of the food to food banks if it wasn’t be used or wanted by any of the tenants,” she added.
Holden said how the project is run next year will depend on community interest.
Tomorrow’s meeting will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. at the health unit’s office (396 Scott St.) Anyone with questions, comments, or ideas is encouraged to attend.
For more information, call Holden at 274-9827.