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This article was published 3/7/2018 (1045 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Corinne Delannoy’s dream of creating a community garden in Windsor Park is really taking seed.
Delannoy is the project co-ordinator of the new Winakwa Community Garden, which is located on a small piece of Louis Riel School Division-owned greenspace between Windsor Park Collegiate and Collège Béliveau next to Windsor Park Pool.
The Windsor Park resident came up with the idea for the garden last year, and after working hard to get everything in place, there are now nine individuals currently renting wooden garden beds at the site, where there is also soil, fill, and a water supply.
The garden has turned out to be a passion project for Delannoy, who originally came up with the idea to bring the community closer together and help people that either can’t afford fresh produce or who, for one reason or another, don’t have the space to grow their own.
"I must admit I shed a few tears when the first gardener was planting her garden," Delannoy said. "I never thought this would actually happen, because when you undertake something like this you encounter lots of hurdles."
As well as the school division, Delannoy — who learned a lot in the process of making the garden a reality — is grateful for the ongoing support of the board members at Winakwa Community Centre, to whom she had to present a business plan outlining the project.
"I had to present my plan to the board several times, and they schooled me and gave me tips. I also learned a lot about budgeting, and how you have account for every penny, as well as the fact you have make the best use of available resources," she said.
"It’s important to me to be able to do this to help make a difference in the community. Just by having those nine garden beds, we’ve already drawn attention to the garden and attracted interest in it, as people are already taking notice. Plus, the boxes are high enough to be wheelchair-accessible, so the garden really is for everyone, and there will be no sore backs or anything. When there are more beds here, the garden will be a real eye-catcher."
Delannoy said creation of the garden, which she hopes will have 30 beds next year, is a testament to the collaboration of stakeholders in the community. For example, the boxes were donated by John Meneer from CN — "they were used for shipping steel, so they are very sturdy" — and Delannoy got "a really good deal" on the water tank from Paul’s Containers. In the future, there are also plans for wood shop and art students from the two nearby schools to create signage for the garden and paint the outside of the boxes, and Delannoy also hopes the space will become home to different gardening clubs.
"It’s important for youth in the community to know where their food comes from and to have the opportunity to grow their own food, and it gives them confidence and the feeling they’ve accomplished something. And at the end of the day, it’s cheaper to buy a packet of seeds than go to the store," Delannoy said.
To help support and sustain the project, there will a number of fundraisers taking place in the future, Delannoy said. The first one is set for Aug. 25 at the community centre, which is located at 980 Winakwa Rd, which will tie-in with centre’s summer carnival.
"We’ll be having a garden barbecue to promote the garden and get everyone interested and let everyone know what’s going on," Delannoy said.
Visit Winakwa Community Garden on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Lance community journalist
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Canstar’s senior reporter, he joined the team in June 2009 to write for The Sou’wester, which was then the new paper in the Canstar family.