February 18, 2015 - 2:33 PM
COMMUNITY GARDEN PROGRAM EXPANDING
KAMLOOPS - More than 80 new community garden plots are in the works and if approved, we may even see a community orchard, public greenhouse and additional workshops.
Shelaigh Garson, the community garden program coordinator for Interior Community Services, says the city has approved two new locations for community gardens and they are just working out the details.
While there has been interest in many neighbourhoods, and wait lists at all eight established city gardens, only funding for two new ones is set to be approved this year. Garson says they are now working to finalize the details for gardens in both Riverside Park and West Highlands Park in Aberdeen.
The first garden will go in at the west end of Riverside Park, just west of the tennis courts near the Uji Feature Garden and the second will be in the newly developed West Highlands Park in Aberdeen.
The Riverside Park location will feature several smaller, raised plots as well as public garden, food forest and demonstration garden features. She anticipates the community garden plots will be ready to go for April and hopes different groups and organizations will get involved with monthly workshops and demonstrations once the rest of the garden is ready to go.
“We hope to be ready for spring planting, so we’ll develop the garden portion first,” she says, adding there is a shared goal for the overall design. “We really want to promote the sustainability plan.”
West Highlands Park will be a few weeks behind, given the higher elevation and the planning that still needs to be done. Garson has a vision for the park that would include a radial, raised bed design aimed at capturing as much sun as possible, demonstration gardens, a community orchard, central gazebo, passive solar greenhouse and water harvesting techniques that could possibly be transformed into a skating canal in winter.
“I want it to be a showcase garden,” she notes of her design plans. “I want to show people how to be more sustainable in their own homes too.”
Garson is meeting with city staff to discuss the final details for the community gardens and then the plans all need final approval from council. She has started accepting names of people interested in securing a plot at the new gardens and registration for the other eight gardens will begin later this month.
Interior Community Services, which runs the day to day operations of all city-owned community gardens, is also looking at expanding significantly over the next while. The group was accepted as a Good Food Organization and support from the program will allow for more educational programming, training and access to resources over the next year and help with applying for federal grants after that.
For more information on the community gardens check out the Facebook page or email Garson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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