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New collective garden opens
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 5 juillet 2012

Photo: Ingrid Wissink

Community gardener Steven Karook, Councillor Susan Clarke, and Action Communiterre technical coordinator Nel Ewane water the final plant at the opening of the St.Thomas collective garden.

NDG residents with green thumbs can now get their hands dirty in a new collective garden, opened June 16 at 6897 Somerled.

Loyola councillor Susan Clarke planted a symbolic last seed before the ribbon was cut at the official opening animated by representatives from Action Communiterre, Éco-Quartier and the church.

“This is a typical NDG project, with many organizations coming together to make something wonderful,” she enthused.

The garden contains several types of organic crops and a small flower and herb section is under development.

Twenty to thirty percent of the crops harvested will benefit the NDG Food Depot and Pois Chic, St. Thomas’ low-priced gourmet restaurant. The remaining bounty will be shared between the garden’s twenty-five to thirty volunteers.

“The transformation of this space has been incredible,” said garden animator Iggy Wylie of Action Communiterre. “It went from straight lawn to a great garden that we’re eating out of already.” Wylie, along with some 20-odd volunteers, began work in March to transform the dirt into fertile soil, even creating one permaculture plot.

A collective garden differs from a community garden in that all work and crops from the entire garden are shared among members, as opposed to community gardens in which each member is responsible for a single plot.

According to Éco-Quartier volunteer coordinator Julie Kourakos, the opportunity to open the garden came about when a community gardener offered to teach in Éco-Quartier’s intergenerational gardening program if they could find a suitable location. Also a parishioner at St. Thomas, the member called Éco-Quartier when she noticed the unoccupied space, which receives full sun, behind her church. The idea was enthusiastically approved by church reverend Karla Holmes, who “really wanted it to be a space for the community and not just a church thing,” says Kourakos.

The garden will maintain an intergenerational approach, fostering learning between generations and providing soil containers at standing level so that “older people won’t have to strain and bend over,” said Kourakos.

[ Ingrid Wissink ]

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