Monday September 01, 2014

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Community garden moves closer to reality

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The committee that has spearheaded the effort to bring a community garden to Estevan is optimistic that the garden could be ready for this year.

Barb Wright, who is the spokesperson for the committee, said it has been a slow process, but that has been beneficial. Their first meeting was held in August, and since then, they have been generating interest and trying to secure a parcel of land.

Eight people attended their most recent meeting on March 17, Wright said, and others have said they would like to be part of the community garden.

"We have started to look at a design for the garden," said Wright.

Wright said they have also sent a request to Estevan City Council to speak at a future council meeting. They will wait until after they meet with council to publicly divulge their proposed location.

Chantelle Dubreuil has been spear-heading the project, and Wright said Dubreuil has a lot of experience in gardening and the planning of gardens.

A community garden is a space where local people can come together and grow their own fruits and vegetables. Wright said the committee envisions each person having their own plot of land.

"For us, the size of plot that we're looking at is four (feet) by 12 (feet), in average size," said Wright.

There would be about 12 plots, she said, but the committee would like to expand the garden's size in the future.

Several different demographics could be participating in the project. There are people who live in condominiums, apartments and basement suites who can't have a garden.

"The biggest thing that we feel a community garden can do for Estevan is to help build community," said Wright. "So even if you have a lawn in your backyard, but you couldn't do your own gardening, if you're interested in getting to know your neighbourhood and getting to know your community, this is a fantastic way to do it."

Not only will gardeners interact with each other, there would be workshops and events for garden participants.

"With so many new individuals here, it would be great if they were involved," Wright said.

Wright said a garden can help beautify a community, because an unkempt area can be turned into a well-maintained parcel. Participants will be eating better because they will be consuming more vegetables, and they'll enjoy physical activity through exercising, pulling weeds, transporting dirt and other tasks associated with gardening.

Research indicates that community gardens also help to reduce crime and vandalism in an area, she said.

Finally, there is a composting element to the project, Wright said. Organizers expect the garden will all-natural, without any pesticides or herbicides.

If the community garden is to happen this year, Wright said they would not only need to secure the land this year, but they would need the spring weather to cooperate. A lot of work has to happen to prepare the land for gardening.

Supporters have already stepped forward with verbal commitments for donations.

"We have a few work bees planned in the beginning of May," said Wright.

In the meantime, they'll continue to meet, look for support and complete the necessary work for the garden to proceed. 


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