Months of dirty pants and green thumbs paid off Wednesday, Sept. 10 with the grand opening of Vanderhoof’s new community garden space.
Located on View Street in downtown Vanderhoof the community garden has been a labour of love for members of the Nechako Heathy Community Alliance (NHCA) who spearheaded the project.
Community members, town councillors, the mayor and local gardeners were all present during the opening celebrations that featured barbecues consisting of almost entirely locally sourced food.
“We were happy with the turnout,” said Maya Sullivan, one of the organizers of the event. Sullivan is part of the Nechako Valley Food Network which operates in conjunction with the NHCA.
“…We’re happy with it overall; it was great to see the community come out and support the event.”
Mayor Gerry Theissen espoused his excitement for the opening of the new garden in an address to the audience saying,
“…This land is special to me, I used to live in a house that was torn down and this is where our family had chickens and a garden 60 years ago. So, for a community garden to be on this site is really special to me.”
Mayor Theissen added that the communities hard work to bring the project to fruition made the day special for everyone.
“It’s a special day for the whole community of Vanderhoof. This garden will be a reminder of what determination does,” he said.
Vanderhoof’s new community garden is a stark departure from the typical imagining of a garden space. It’s far more than a square of dirt with some tomatoes growing in it. The community garden is fully wheelchair accessible, including wheelchair accessible garden planters, has on-sight washroom facilities and a gazebo area for workshops to be housed in.
The garden has been built over the last year by numerous members of the community including the Nechako Valley Secondary School’s carpentry students who provided the garden boxes for the facility.
Continuing it’s inclusiveness, the new garden has partnered with McLeod elementary to create the farm to school program in which locally grown foods are sourced for children’s lunches while at school.
The garden has also teamed up with Seniors Connected to bring in seniors who may not have access to their own gardens to work in the community garden and help teach gardening tips to the younger generation.
Sullivan says that the garden is truly an embodiment of community,
“One of the things I’ve learned is that when you have a project like this, we’re building a garden but we’re also building community. It really felt like a community event; it had a great feel about it.”