Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Saint Andrews Community garden plan finalized - Apr. 30, 2014

Barb Rayner
Saint Andrews
It’s been five years in the making but a community garden will be established in Saint Andrews and work on the project will begin soon.
The project, under the auspices of Spindrifters, the group for the 50-plus, has received a total of $5,600 in funding with an anniversary grant from Fundy Community Foundation ($1,500) and two separate grants, totalling $4,100, from the Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities through its Community Food Action Program.
The town has donated a 9.144 metre (30ft) by 36.576 metre (100ft) piece of land between the fire hall and the ambulance station; Leavitt’s Lawn Care is donating topsoil; the town’s tree committee will be donating trees to be planted around the garden and John Castell, one of the key organizers of the project and summer co-chair of Spindrifters, is donating compost. Spindrifters’ winter co-chair, Ernie Depatie, is donating his business expertise.
Garden coordinator Theresa Smith, who is also a Spindrifters’ member, said she is so pleased that the project is finally going ahead after fighting to have a community garden for five years.
“I am just so excited. I wanted this so much for the community because I wanted us to be a model for other communities – but then St. Stephen got one and St. George got one and ours still wasn’t approved.”
When the project was first discussed, All Saints Anglican Church offered a piece of church land to be used as a community garden but problems arose because the land was zoned institutional and there was a question of whether it had to be rezoned.
First items on the agenda will be the erection of a greenhouse, deer fencing and a garden shed then 24 raised garden beds will be built. Twenty will be made available for $100 for the season, with 12 already rented.
Each member will be responsible for one of the garden beds, which will measure 1.219 metres (4ft) by 2.438 metres (8ft) and raised 0.3048 metres (1ft). They will grow at least one crop of their choice, which will be shared with all participants, and must keep it watered and weeded on a weekly basis.
Members will be asked to donate 10 per cent of their produce, to be harvested and weighed weekly, to those in need. A larger community bed will be used to grow potatoes, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and other vegetables to be shared by the members.
Smith explained that four of the beds will be reserved for use by the Community Youth Activity Centre making this an inter-generational project.
“I think it is going to be one of the best things that is happening to the community because it is going to be inter-generational. They (youth) will see how many hands make things happen.
“We will be able to help them and they will be able to help us. It just makes for continuity. I am just building for the future.”
The young people will learn about composting, vermiculture and other organic gardening techniques such as companion planting. The use of pesticides and herbicides will not be permitted and left over organic seeds have been donated by the organizers of the town’s annual Seedy Sunday seed exchange.
Smith said that last year both she and Castell gave a talk to the youth – she talked about seeds and he talked about composting.
“He brought over two composters and showed them how to compost. It was a great beginning. I am just very pleased with how this is happening.”
A follow-up meeting will be held to organize the gardening. The community garden will be looking for volunteers and donations of compost materials. The Saint Andrews community garden will be partnering with the community gardens in St. Stephen and St. George to share expertise.
For more information, contact Smith at 529-8912, Castell at 529-3360 or Depatie at 529-8833.

barb@stcroixcourier.ca