St. Vital community gardens keep growing


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/09/2021 (509 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The St. Vital Agricultural Society celebrated a new garden this year, with the official grand opening of the Manitoba 150/COVID-19 Relief community garden.

Founded in 1909, SVAS was formed in response to the then-government of Manitoba’s initiative to promote agriculture and horticulture on the prairies.  

The community garden’s grand opening on Aug. 28 featured guest speaker Marion Schoch, an avid beekeeper who shared details about honey production and recommended that residents grow flowers in their yards and gardens so the bees can pollinate the plants and collect nectar.  
The community garden was made possible through funding from a federal government grant under the New Horizons for Seniors Program.  

Supplied photo Community members recently gathered to celebrate the opening of the St. Vital Agricultural Society’s Manitoba 150/COVID-19 Relief garden, another addition to the community gardens overseen by the SVAS.

“We have a diverse group of gardeners from many backgrounds – Bangladesh, India, Ecuador to name a few,” said Karen Fontaine, current vice-president and co-ordinator of SVAS community gardens.

The garden provides 23 plot-holders and their families with rental plots to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers.

“They are growing some interesting and unusual plants such as amaranth and chick peas. We also have gardeners from age five to 75,” Fontaine said.

The 8,000-square-foot garden is situated on City of Winnipeg land just south of the intersection of St. Michael Road and Glen Meadow Street, north of Bishop Grandin Boulevard. It is a naturalization site which was excavated in fall 2020, with fresh soil added for gardening.   

“The grant monies received also allowed for the planting of native trees and shrubs adjacent to the onsite service building,” Fontaine added.

With a team of four or more maintaining the garden and a team of three overseeing the composting, the garden serves as a place for all to enjoy.

“If you drive on Bishop Grandin west of St. Mary’s Road, you will clearly see the gardening site. Next to this garden is the Manitoba 150 Pollinator Garden and next the Sesquicentennial Community Garden (which was built by SVAS to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday),” Fontaine said.  

“The area is greatly beautified by these grassroots projects.”

Fontaine cited the gardens as a special meeting place for those tending them, and said they have been a remarkable re-purposing of area formerly dominated by grass and thistles.

The garden plots will be available for rental again in the 2022 gardening season 2022 at $35 for a 10-foot by 20-foot half-plot and $45 for a full plot.  

“This will be a special year for SVAS and all gardeners – 2022 is the ‘year of the garden’. This will be the theme for the annual fair and display of SVAS in August 2022 at the St. Vital Centennial Arena.”
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Janine LeGal

Janine LeGal
St. Boniface community correspondent

Janine LeGal is a community correspondent for St. Boniface who also writes the These Old Houses column for our Community Homes section.

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