The community garden on Railway Avenue is full of beautiful blooms, vegetables and fruit trees. While it may seem exclusive, anyone is welcome to take a tour and anyone can rent some space.
Northern Roots Community Gardens runs the space and society chair Scott McMillan plants his vegetables there because his own yard is too shady for most things to grow. He said he got involved when another community group tried to create a demonstration garden across from the hospital on 8th Avenue a couple of years ago. A lot of residents in the neighbourhood were concerned that it would look messy and decrease the value of their homes. This sparked McMillan to become an advocate for community gardens and straighten up the one on Railway. He said there are lot of benefits for the town to have gardens like the Northern Roots.
“A lot of food is grown here,” he said. “Some non-profit groups also have plots in here, so it is a win-win for everyone.”
Grendel Group is one organization that has several plots plus a greenhouse. The values-based organization provides programs and educational support and ongoing work experience for people with cognitive and physical disabilities.
“In addition to gardening and being outside, which has a lot of positive benefits, the program because we act like a business, we provide the participants with an experience more work-like so it does have that sort of satisfaction of doing something meaningful,” said Dmitri Cody, coordinator for the Grendel Grow program.
The vegetables produced by the group go to Groundbreakers Collective and some also get sold with the proceeds going back into the group. The root vegetables are kept for Grendel’s catering service.
The land the Railway garden sits on is owned by the town and leased for a small price to the society. The plots rent out for $50 and that covers the water bill and insurance. There are also a few raised beds for seniors so they don’t have to bend too far down to garden. Those rent out for $10 a year. There is currently only one senior taking advantage of that deal. McMillian is hoping to rent out all of the raised beds next year. Anyone interested in renting out some space next season can contact McMillan at 250-847-2832.