He filled the tub

Cavendish waste re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity houses small veg­etable gar­den

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

Farmer Terry Dob­bie checks out the straw­ber­ries he planted in an old bath­tub to see if there are any ripe ones in Cavendish. Dob­bie, who works part time at the waste re­cov­ery site in the com­mu­nity, no­ticed there were lots of per­fectly us­able items get­ting dropped off at the fa­cil­ity. Us­ing his agri­cul­tural in­tu­ition, he came up with a great idea to help share food with oth­ers by reusing some of those ma­te­ri­als on-site.

A Cavendish man is spruc­ing up the waste re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity in his home­town, and he has the sup­port of Eastern Waste Man­age­ment.

Terry Dob­bie is the owner of Grow Dat Farms, but also works part time as a gate at­ten­dant at the re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity, lo­cated just off the main road in the Trin­ity Bay town.

In his job he chats with all the lo­cals that come from as far away as Spread Ea­gle to drop off their garbage and scraps. The big prob­lem Dob­bie sees is that a lot of it can be re­pur­posed.

“Some of the stuff that comes in here is brand new,” he ex­plained. “And a lot of it is in good con­di­tion.”

Bath­tubs, for ex­am­ple, are among the items he sees plenty of. The lo­cal farmer has turned 28 of them into a veg­etable gar­den.

A veg­etable gar­den at a waste dis­posal site? Yes, that’s right. Dob­bie has set up the bath­tubs away from the piles of me­tal, elec­tron­ics, old fur­ni­ture and all else on the site. In fact, it’s the first thing that greets you when you en­ter the gates.

Be­sides the bath­tubs, Dob­bie also re­pur­posed tires to grow pota­toes.

“I didn’t know if they would grow,” he said. “But they grew re­ally well.”

In the bath­tubs, he grew straw­ber­ries, broc­coli, peas, cab­bage beets and yel­low zuc­chini. Most were al­ready har­vested be­fore a Com­pass re­porter vis­ited the site last Tues­day, but a hand­ful of straw­ber­ries and a few veg­eta­bles re­mained.

In­ter­est is there

Ve­hi­cles come and go steadily for the three days the fa­cil­ity is open to drop off bulk garbage. Some are in­trigued by the gar­den.

“How did the harvest go,” asked one woman in the pas­sen­ger seat of a black pickup truck. “Have any­thing left?”

Dob­bie de­scribed the straw­ber­ries that came from the bath­tubs and apol­o­gized he didn’t have any to give her.

“Nor­mally, if I had them, I’d have given her a pint,” he said.

That is what he has been do­ing with the items that come out of the ground. He gives them away. Some he gives to lo­cals just stop­ping by, but Dob­bie is also do­nat­ing items to the food banks. He do­nates some of his own crops from Grow Dat Farms as well.

“It’s a hobby,” he said. “I like try­ing new ( farm­ing) things out and see­ing what works.”

So far, all the crops he grew were suc­cess­ful.

When Dob­bie ini­tially started the gar­den, he didn’t know how peo­ple would re­act. It was a lit­tle “out of the box,” he said. But the items he was watch­ing get hauled away to Robin Hood Bay and shipped off to the main­land — elec­tron­ics and tires are not re­cy­cled in this province — were per­fectly us­able.

One per­son brought boxes of floor­ing that hadn’t been opened yet. It was just ex­cess prod­uct and they had no need for it any­more.

“What gets to me is, I heard it on the ra­dio not that long ago that a fam­ily lost ev­ery­thing in a fire,” he said. “We don’t have to be bury­ing this stuff. We can be do­nat­ing it to those who need it, or to those who are cre­ative enough to re­use it.”

Dob­bie’s mother, Joy Bish­opDob­bie, who also chairs the Cavendish Lo­cal Ser­vice Dis- trict com­mit­tee, inspired him to re­use the items on site. She of­ten uses old items to ac­cen­tu­ate her own gar­den.

“I’m not as cre­ative as my mom,” Dob­bie laughed.

Eastern Waste re­sponds

The chair­per­son for Eastern Waste Man­age­ment, the com­pany that op­er­ates the waste re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity in Cavendish and sev­eral oth­ers across eastern New­found­land, only re­cently learned about Dob­bie’s gar­den and was im­pressed. Ed Grant was happy to see Dob­bie show ini­tia­tive for this pro­ject.

“The only com­ment we would make about it is, ‘Bravo, great for you,’” Grant ex­plained. “It’s a great ini­tia­tive, it’s a non-profit. I mean, he gave it away.”

There was ini­tially some con­cern that the crops were be­ing grown on a site that used to be a dump, but once they learned things were be­ing grown in the bath­tubs, they were on board.

“When I learned about this, I thought, ‘It’s fab­u­lous,’” Grant added.

Although they like the idea, he’s doubt­ful it could hap­pen across all the fa­cil­i­ties, since it takes a cer­tain skill to grow veg­eta­bles and fruit. But he’s open to other sug­ges­tions.

“There’s other skills that peo­ple may have and say, ‘I want to do it,’” Grant said. “And where we can help, we’d cer­tainly love to do that.”

For Dob­bie, he’s just happy he could make a few peo­ple smile.

“It’s just some­thing I wanted to try,” he ex­plained. “And I’m glad to see peo­ple in­ter­ested in it.”

PHOTO BY MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COM­PASS

PHOTOS BY MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COM­PASS

The bath­tubs and tires are used at the Cavendish waste re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity to cre­ate a veg­etable gar­den.

Some of the straw­ber­ries that grew at the waste re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity in Cavendish were fairly large.

Some of the crops har­vested this year in­cluded straw­ber­ries and cab­bage.

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