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This article was published 20/11/2017 (1468 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It sometimes takes a community to build a garden.
The St. Vital Agricultural Society has been busy laying the foundations for its Sesquicentennial Community Garden, which was officially opened at an event on Nov. 14. The community garden is the long-running organization’s Canada 150 anniversary project, according to key organizer and SVAS director Karen Fontaine. She said the society applied for a grant for the project from 150 Alliance in partnership with Lions Club International and Diabetes Canada.
Located on Bishop Grandin Greenway southeast of where Glen Meadow Street meets St. Michael Road, the idea is that community members with an interest in the project can apply to maintain a plot in the garden.
"I love this location because it’s got a special feel to it," said Fontaine, who lives in St. Vital, noting SVAS has leased the land for the project from the City of Winnipeg. "This grassroots project is about making unusable land usable."
Fontaine told The Lance the plot of land for the garden was excavated in the fall when 12 inches of fresh soil was laid. The goal is for the garden to be ready to work on in the spring, and she hopes compost bins will also be added. A recently-erected sign for the garden was formally unveiled at the opening event.
"Ultimately, the intention is to make it a teaching garden, whether it’s youth or newcomers to Manitoba that might not have gardened before. We’re going to continue partnering with Diabetes Canada, and we hope to offer educational seminars and workshops about healthy living and preserving food," she said, adding the plots will be available on a first come, first served basis.
Fontaine said each plot-holder will be asked to purchase an annual membership to the society, which will help cover the cost for rental, as well as a water source for next year.
"Our annual fair this year had a Canada 150 theme, so we wanted to hold a special project in conjunction with the theme and this came to mind. We also wanted to be more visible out in the community and give back to the community and do something outside of what we’ve done before," Fontaine said.
"Also, we really want to share our gardening knowledge beyond family and friends and expand our base. Plus, it’s good to be outside and close to nature. I can envisage it being beautiful with people going by in the spring and summer with the whole area alive and buzzing with people gardening. There’s so much potential here, and sometimes grassroots projects like this are the very best for active living. I’m so excited for next spring."
As well as the partners and stakeholders mentioned, Fontaine also acknowledges the support of Manitoba Community Services Council, Fontaine Landscaping Inc., Anseeuw Bros., the City of Winnipeg, Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) and Coun. Janice Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert).
She added Winnipeg South Lions Club is providing a park bench for the project and it’s also serving as a legacy project for the Lions Club International 100th anniversary. The bench will be installed in the spring.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, including how to rent a plot in the garden.
Simon Fuller is the reporter/photographer 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.