By Darren Lum
Published Sept. 26 2017
After five years the community garden at the old Victoria Street School is growing.
The United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes has given Community Living money to expand the garden which is currently half the size of a tennis court with fencing a gate and 12 garden boxes.
The garden co-ordinator Lianna Greer said the expansion was possible of an amalgamation between the Haliburton and Kawartha Lakes Community Living.
“They have been incredible and come to us with funding to do it” she said thanking Penny Barton-Dyke the executive director of United Way.
The first part of the expansion effort begins with the Day of Caring on Tuesday Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with Oct. 4 as the rain date.
“Day of Caring [is] when people come together and assist us with the labour of putting it together” she said. “We want to do two things: we want to expand our beds somewhat and create a really beautiful oasis for a lack of a better word with perennials and pathways. Kind of create a beautiful space to walk through and sit and relax.”
The funded expansion is to include wheelchair accessible garden beds a stone pathway throughout the gardens and additional community garden beds.
Greer said when the gardens were initially constructed there was help from the local lumber companies Fowler Construction and the amazing volunteers.
With this expansion they’re looking for someone with the expertise to “visualize how it is going to be laid out.” A contractor is already lined up to implement the design.
This expansion effort will be executed in two parts. The first part will happen on the Day of Caring when the groundwork is performed. The second part will be undertaken in the spring after the first frost which will include the planting.
Volunteers are welcome to help during the Day of Caring and in the spring for the second phase.
The Day of Caring brings together volunteers from businesses and corporations that support United Way and matches them with not-for-profit agencies. (Contact Greer at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 705-457-2626 ext. 27 for more information.)
Personnel with Job Quest an agency with Community Living will be assisting Greer said. This project does not have funding for fencing and garden supplies and could use financial or in kind help.
Locally the United Way has assisted with A Place Called Home Food for Kids and the Poverty Reduction Strategy she said.
Participating community gardeners change over time but the constant is the garden’s popularity.
SIRCH staff and volunteers Community Living volunteers Community Living residential group home and day programs and members of the community all have boxes in the garden.
Even when someone leaves there is someone else that steps in.
“They’re always full always” Greer said.
This garden is one of 10 gardens part of the Haliburton Highlands Community Garden Network which started in 2012. By 2016 the Central Food Network became a supporting a partner of the network.
Kate Hall the public health food worker at the health unit said these gardens allow people to grow their own food giving them choice access and the ability to “stretch food dollars.” There is a physical and social benefit to gardening she discovered through talking with participants who call them gathering places.
“It’s just so rewarding. I know … as a gardener when I go out and pick our evening salad for dinner every night like it’s how great is that? It’s so fresh and it’s so crisp and the texture is different and the flavour is different. It just makes you feel good” she said.
Those interested in joining one of the county’s community gardens (or inquiring about potential new gardens) can contact Hall at 705-457-1391 ext. 3246 or email@example.com.