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Resident donates backyard for community garden

A Penticton person's backyard was donated to become a community garden manned by Salvation Army staff, food bank clients and other volunteers.
July 19, 2013 - 3:23 PM

PENTICTON - Fresh vegetables and life lessons are being harvested from a Penticton resident's backyard.

Salvation Army staff and volunteers turned Donna Benson's yard at 613 Martin St. into a collection of raised garden beds filled with cabbages, onions, tomatoes, potatoes and more. The other garden product has been the socialization opportunities gardening tends to create, Salvation Army program co-ordinator Barb Stewart said.

Stewart said community food bank clients and other volunteers enjoy working in Benson's yard. And back at the food bank more and more clients are sharing vegetable recipes between themselves when they go to pick up their produce.

None of this would be possible without Benson's donation of her property. Stewart explained Benson wanted to provide fresh vegetables for people in need of them so she contacted the Salvation Army.

Stewart is also happy about the use of Benson's water. The raised beds have a limited water supply that needs constant refreshing. The plants' roots do not have access to the larger water supply in the yard beneath.

A grant from the Vancouver Foundation paid for tools, soil and other items, such as the raised planting beds. Stewart said having the plants a foot or two off the ground makes it easier for some food bank clients to reach the vegetables.

The grant also paid for deer-proof fencing to keep hungry herbivores out of the garden. Last year, a deer jumped a low fence, into the yard, a few feet away from a group of the garden's volunteers, and helped himself. Now the fence is too high for the deer to enter.

The Salvation Army will also produce small vegetable guide books, called Food For All, to teach inexpensive ways of cooking with veggies. Their community food bank runs kitchen sessions on Tuesday and Thursday where clients can also learn new ways to eat well on a limited budget.

For more information on the food bank call 250-492-4788. The Salvation Army and its community kitchen and food bank can be found at 2469 Main Street.

To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at squesnel@infotelnews.ca, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1

Emmett Goose hands salts over to Salvation Army employee Sandie Schmidt to be spread over soil where tomatoes are growing. Food bank clients and others volunteer their time tending to this backyard community garden where the produce is delivered to the Salvation Army food bank.
Emmett Goose hands salts over to Salvation Army employee Sandie Schmidt to be spread over soil where tomatoes are growing. Food bank clients and others volunteer their time tending to this backyard community garden where the produce is delivered to the Salvation Army food bank.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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