Plot Number 6: How A Community Garden Began
Growing Your Own food
Fresh food is good food, and the freshest food you can get is the food you grow yourself. However, not everyone has the space where they live to grow anything. This is where community gardens enter the picture. A community garden is a plot of land, the size will vary, where a number of people come together to grow what they need.
There is often a contract to be signed. The contract sets out the terms under which the garden operates. For example, keeping your site weeded, respecting the other gardeners, and using only organic materials are common items in community garden contracts.
One of the greatest challenges in developing a community garden is finding a site that is suitable for this purpose. Ideally, the gardeners would own the land, but a long-term lease is the next best arrangement.
The first step in finding a site is to contact the municipal government and ask for their assistance in identifying municipal property that could be used for a community garden. If one is found then discuss the lease.
This hub is the story of how the Campbellton Community Garden came into being and how my plot, plot number 6, became a reality.
Community Garden site; after brush had been cleared
When we arrived here over five years ago, I began to get to know the city. My wife had a job so she was busy; however, I was retired and looking for a project. I asked around, checked at City Hall and the Library and found there was only one community garden and that was too far away from home. So, I had a project. I did not realize at that time how long it would take to bring the project to life.
I talked with a few people, found two who wanted a community garden and we then approached the city. There are a number of vacant lots around town some city-owned. The main problem, the group soon found out was that most of the vacant city lots were used as snow dumps during the winter months. We have along winter and often get considerable snow.
These sites were eliminated; even if we built raised beds, the snow dumped on them over the winter would contaminate the soil. Contaminated soil, contaminated food, this would not do.
This process took two years, if you want to succeed persistence is importantand we persisted. Talking with people in committee meeting at the Rotary Club lunches (I had since become a Rotarian) give the garden group hope. People wanted a community garden.
The project came together when the Restigouche Community Inclusion Network was formedand food security was on their agenda.
Raised Beds -15 in total
The Garden is Born
The project really took of when the Food Security Committee decided that a community garden was a priority. They approached the City, but no suitable site was available.
Finally,after several months and a number of meetings a site, privately owned was found. The land was not for sale and was not likely to be sold, so a one year contract was negotiated with an option for five years if the first yeas worked. A factor working in the garden's favour was that some of the food produced would go to the local community kitchen.
A public meeting in the neighbourhood where the garden was located and the community members were invited.. Six people showed up that night. All signed gardening contracts, and their plots are planted.
The plot chosen had been unused fo years and it took four days of plowing and removing rocks before the raised beds were ready. the cool wet weather did not help.
There are 15 plots in all. The gardeners are a mix of people living on low income, youth and retirees.A garden supper is planned fro Sept 27 and each gardener will bring an item for the emal, from their own plot.