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Community garden looking for helping hands


The local community garden, located on Lillie Avenue between Fifth Street West and Sixth Street West, is looking for volunteers to assist with two projects tomorrow evening (June 20).

“We’ve been working on getting a fence put up around the garden to keep the deer out,” said Krista Nielson of the Northwestern Health Unit.

“It’s not quite finished, so we’re hoping to work on that on Wednesday evening.

“We’re asking people to come out around 6:30 p.m.,” she added.

Nielson said they also are in the process of planting a “Circle of Sharing” garden, also known as a “Four Directions” or “Four Seasons” garden.

“It’s planted according to traditional native beliefs,” she noted. “It’s a traditional Native American garden, and it’s planted with traditional plants like corn, gourds, pumpkins, and beans.

“It’s something that they did last year in the garden and they had a lot of fun with it, and it went over really well, so we’re doing it again this year,” Nielson added.

“Everything is planted in circular formation and divided into four quadrants, representing sunrise, sunset, winter and summer, and it honours the four directions,” she explained.

“[There is a] tee-pee formation in the middle, which vines from the gourds will sprawl upwards to cover.

“It’s based on legends, traditional plants, and respect for the Earth,” said Nielson.

“It also has to do with planting items that are compatible with each other near one another because some items will grow better and flourish depending on what they’re planted near.

“As the name states, sharing will be done at the garden–it will be a central location for learning opportunities, sharing stories, and working together.”

Nielson said the idea behind this is to reintroduce traditional gardening in the community, as well as learn about aboriginal gardening practices.

They will focus on having an all-natural garden, and will abstain from using pesticides or anything that could have a negative effect on the vegetation.

“The community garden really has countless benefits to the community,” enthused Nielson.

“An increase in beautiful green space, opportunities for volunteering and coming together, physical and mental health benefits, the opportunity to learn from one another, increased access to healthy foods, and an opportunity to increase food and gardening skills and more,” she cited.

The rest of the garden is flourishing so far this season, with about 35 gardeners covering 50 plots.

“It’s going really well,” Nielson noted. “Most of the gardeners have planted now.

“Some people have plants coming up, [and] so far there haven’t been any deer bothering any of the plants,” she added.

“Hopefully we can get the fence up and continue to keep everything safe.”

A few plots are still available for people to rent. Those interested as asked to call Nielson at the local health unit office.

Any leftover plots will become group plots, and the gardeners will share responsibility for caring for the garden.

“The harvest will be shared amongst the gardeners, and donated to local food banks and families in need,” Nielson explained.

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