From left: Ken Young

From left: Ken Young

Community garden update

The Community Garden is growing – not only food, but partnerships and great ideas.

The Community Garden is growing – not only food, but partnerships and great ideas.

The Community Garden is an initiative of the Nechako Valley Food Network and has been a work in progress for several years. What started as a simple concept of having a patch of ground where citizens of Vanderhoof can go and plant some vegetables, has grown into a multi-level project, involving the District of Vanderhoof, School District 91, WL McLeod School Farm to School Program, Nechako Valley Community Services Society, and now Seniors Connected.

Seniors Connected has recently acquired funding to support seniors based projects at the Community Garden. Debra-Ann Bishop, Seniors Connected Coordinator, recognized a need to get seniors involved with the Community Garden.

“Seniors involved with the Seniors Connected program have lived in the community for over half a century. They are experienced gardeners with an immense amount of knowledge,” states Bishop.

Bishop hopes to capture some of that knowledge, from the simplest tips to the differing philosophies on when to plant and when to harvest in Vanderhoof, and to share that expertise with new gardeners through hands-on mentoring and a printed ‘how-to’ gardening book. As well, Bishop promotes that gardening is a wonderful way for seniors to get outdoors, socialize and exercise, an opportunity unfortunately not available to all seniors in our community.

The projects on Bishop’s to-do list include: having seniors mentor students from the Farm to School Program at the garden on planting, tending and harvesting vegetables; creating a ‘how-to’ gardening book based on the expertise from local seniors, and; providing accessible and safe space for seniors to garden for the pure joy of being outside and gardening.

To get the ball rolling, Seniors Connected is hosting an Open House on February 26 from 11-2 at the Library Multipurpose Room. Seniors from the community are invited to attend this open house to learn more about the Community Garden Senior Connected projects, as well as to sign up to be interviewed for the ‘how-to’ gardening book. The book will be a permanent asset at the Community Garden space to be used by any gardeners that have a plot at the garden. The book will also be used as a teaching tool in the schools, as several of our local schools are starting to include growing food as part of their school community.

All Seniors Connected projects rely on a large base of volunteers willing to help transport seniors from their homes to the various Seniors Connected events. To help make the Community Garden projects successful and inclusive to all seniors, Bishop is putting a call out to citizens of Vanderhoof to sign up to be Seniors Connected volunteers. Please call her at 250-567-0623. Honorariums for mileage available.

The new location of the Community Garden is on View Street, situated along the Vanderhoof Community Trail and the Nechako River. Although it is currently covered in snow, planting is scheduled to start this spring. To learn more about the Community Garden, visit www.nvfoodnetwork.ca.