Glace Bay Food Bank garden has 50 different vegetables and herbs.
You might call the backyard at the Glace Bay Food Bank, a garden paradise.
“We have everything you can think of,” said volunteer Kimmy McPherson. “I'm up to about 50 different vegetables and herbs.”
The garden currently includes lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, three types of potatoes, onions and spinach. There is also Swiss chard, turnip, parsnip, snow peas, regular peas, yellow beans, green beans, broccoli and cauliflower as well as a variety of herbs.
Over the last two weeks, the food bank has given out radishes in the orders and had enough lettuce to garnish 70 hamburgers during a recent meal. Onions and herbs are being used on a daily basis as part of the meals served at the food bank.
“Probably the next thing to be ready will be the Swiss chard and beet greens,” McPherson said. “We also gave away four heads of lettuce in orders.”
Back in the spring, McPherson applied for funding from Food Banks Canada and Compass Group Canada — on behalf of the Glace Bay Food Bank — and a $6,000 grant was approved.
The money was used to purchase all the equipment — including a baby barn, tiller, shovels, rakes, fertilizer, seeds, gloves — to help plant a garden.
McPherson said the garden is also going to assist with meals cooked by volunteers with the Citizens Service League's meals on wheels program in Glace Bay. The Senior Activity Group of Glace Bay donated $100 with the understanding the food bank would donate herbs to the meals on wheels program.
“We've already started doing that,” McPherson said.
“I've gotten in contact with them and told them the dill and cilantro are ready to go, so they're currently looking at their menu for the next two weeks. Once they need it we'll crop it and bring it in to them.”
McPherson said clients, some with their children, have been coming out to the garden.
“We're trying to engage them more, to educate them,” she said. “They've actually been picking the lettuce themselves and are so happy, they are even taking photos of themselves back there.”
She said there has been lots of help from the community. In June, Grade 6 students from Glace Bay Elementary School planted beets.
“All of the beets are all coming up like crazy now.”
The students had saved money and purchased food for the food bank. On the day they delivered their donation, McPherson was preparing to plant beets and asked if anyone wanted to help.
“All 30 or so hands went up,” she said. “I couldn't believe it, especially at that age. I think they all want to learn. They all came back and helped.”
Kimmy McPherson, a volunteer at the Glace Bay Food Bank, checks peppers in the garden which is located in the food bank's backyard. The garden, started by McPherson at the end of May, currently includes about 50 different vegetables and herbs.
Carolyn McPherson, 9, plants vegetables in the Glace Bay Food Bank's vegetable garden. The young girl volunteers in the garden as well as the kitchen and helps with the orders.
Seen here is the vegetable garden at the Glace Bay Food Bank. The garden provides fresh vegetables to clients but the produce is also served as part of the meals at the food bank.
Michelle MacIntyre, a volunteer at the Glace Bay Food Bank, holds lettuce freshly picked from the garden, which was used to garnish 70 hamburgers during a recent meal served at the food bank.