Community feel needed for local garden
Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017 03:58 pm
Volunteers with a gift for digging in the dirt intend to make their community garden a gathering place this season.
Diamond Valley Community Garden volunteers are planning barbecues, information sessions and other gatherings to bring the community together amongst the rows of vegetables, herbs and fruits trees.
“We would like to have more of a garden community,” said Jane Toews, chair of the volunteer-run sub committee of the Parks and Recreation Committee. “People go there, do their own thing and go home. There isn’t a really well-developed social aspect.”
Toews said the garden became a gathering place for the public in its early years when volunteers hosted barbecues and other public events. The garden was relocated from 1st Street SE to its currently location at the east end of 2nd Ave. NE and now has 74 beds rented out for $40 per season. All but 10 beds were rented out last season.
Plots not taken up by paying customers are used to grow food for the Oilfields Food bank.
With the gardening season just around the corner, Toews is eager to get things rolling again.
An information session on seeds was held March 1 and more informative talks will follow, she said.
“There is a lot of people who have excellent background and experience, people who are gardening there already,” she said. “People starting out might feel a little intimidated about not knowing things. We hope to assist them as much as possible and connect them with people who are more experienced and knowledgeable. We are hoping to develop more of that kind of community.”
The first community barbecue this season is April 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the garden. During this time, volunteers will take registration for the garden plots, host information sessions and request help spreading mulch between the raised beds.
Jackie Blight served as the garden attendant last year and said she would love to see more community involvement at the garden this year.
“Last year we didn’t get the barbecues going at all,” she said. “The committee members just got busy with other things. This year, hopefully with a few new committee members and Jane being the chairperson, we are going to do more with that.”
Barbecues held at the garden in 2009 attracted anywhere from 70 to 80 people, said Blight.
“Most people that I talk to really appreciate having the garden there even if they don’t have a plot themselves,” she said. “A lot of times people who had a garden decided to do it in their backyard. It’s a good starting point for people learning how to garden.”
Blight said hosting public events is a great way to spread the word that Black Diamond has a community garden.
The public information sessions in particular are useful to all residents, whether they have a plot at the Diamond Valley Community Garden or not, said Blight.
“More people involved in learning how to grow their own food is a good idea,” she said. “Food prices are going up and gardening is healthy for you. You get your fingers in the dirt and it grounds you. It’s just good for your mental and physical health.”
Community garden volunteers will begin raising money for expenses not covered by the plot rental fees including purchasing new fruit trees for the food forest, adding mulch between the beds, hosting public events and regular upkeep and maintenance of the garden.
Fundraisers this season include a plant sale at Country Food Mart AG Foods on June 10 in
Black Diamond and the sale of Spolumbo sausage over the next two months. Donations are being requested of local organizations. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or find it on Facebook.