A full bathroom and wheelchair accessiblility aren’t the first thing that come to mind when you think of a community garden. For Vanderhoof, however, they’re just a few of the aspect that make the site truly unique and cutting edge.
Located on View Street the new Vanderhoof community garden is a stark departure from the previous community garden which was located behind the museum grounds on the west end of town.
Currently the garden, which is being administered by the Nechako Healthy Community Alliance (NHCA), is in its first year of operations and is still in the process of being renovated. That hasn’t stopped bushels of kale and flowers from overflowing from their beds, though.
What makes the Vanderhoof Community Garden so unique is it’s inclusiveness.
It was designed with the intention of being available for everyone in the community despite mobility or age.
The project was also inclusive in it’s foundation, as numerous community groups have come together to donate money, time and effort into bringing the project to fruition.
Currently a co-operative between the NHCA, District of Vanderhoof, Nechako Valley Community Services Society (NVCSS), School District 91 and the Seniors Connected program, the garden truly is a community project.
McLeod elementary school owns the land on which the garden now sits, as part of their agreement to use the land McLeod elementary will be using the garden for their Farm to School program which aims to bring agriculture into the class room by having students help grow the food they eat. It also provides healthy, organic alternatives to school lunches.
The Seniors Connected program is also heavily involved in the project with seniors contributing to what Andrew Beuzer and Debra-Ann Bishop, both active members of the community garden, call a transfer of knowledge.
Beuzer and Bishop hope that seniors and other veteran gardeners will help to teach new gardeners and youth members the tricks of the trade.
A gazebo has recently been built in the garden which will be used to house classes and workshops related to gardening.
There is no sign of slowing down, either. Beuzer and the NHCA are in the process of trying to find funding for the addition of a fruit tree orchard to be placed behind the currently existing garden.
If their efforts prove fruitful (excuse the pun) then Vanderhoof will have one of the most inclusive and unique community gardens around.
The over 60 plots currently available at the garden have all been claimed and the garden is currently running at full capacity, impressive for it’s first year on the job.