Residents gear up to grow in Harbour Grace
New community garden creates opportunities
Folks in Harbour Grace keen to get their thumbs dirty in some soil this summer have a new opportunity awaiting them.
The Town of Harbour Grace is launching a new community garden project. The initial plan was to have 20 raised beds available to the public, but according to the chairman of the committee looking after the garden, community interest convinced them to increase that number to 30.
“The garden is not only about gardening — it’s also about community spirit,” explained Billie Cooper, also the co-owner of WEatherfield Farm on the south side of Harbour Grace. “People getting out and talking to each other. There’s a lot of people that are basically shut in because nobody goes to visit them, and we’re hoping this is going to be more of a drop-in centre.”
The final location for the garden is in the process of being finalized. Cooper said the committee hopes to access land located between the old courthouse and Clarke’s Furniture. Owned by the provincial government, the property itself has been farmed in the past and has good soil. If that option doesn’t work, the garden will be on land leased by the town that’s located between Harbour Grace Field and the adjacent playground.
Through funding from the provincial government totaling $20,000, the town was able to set up a community garden and offer programming devoted to health living and eating habits. A total of 20 sessions open to the public will cover issues such as food preparation, eating healthy on a budget or cooking for one. Guest speakers will help lead these sessions.
“We’ve been really lucky to go in partnership with Eastern Health with the healthy eating and healthy living,” Cooper said. “They’ve been phenomenal with us and giving some good guidance for how to go
about this and linking us with other groups that have already done projects in their own communities.”
Those hoping to look after a bed this summer need to contact the committee by June 9 — an email can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those lacking access to email can call Mary Larsen at 596-7945.
Names will be drawn June 9 and on June 17 the group will hold an official opening to get users started with their raised beds, which are four feet by 12 feet. One bed is reserved for the town, with food grown there available for anyone in town to access, and another will benefit the local St. Vincent De Paul Society Food Bank.
Interest so far has not strictly revolved around growing vegetables. According to Cooper, some have expressed an interest in growing memorial gardens for loved ones, and there’s even a six-year-old girl who loves flowers and is simply looking for somewhere to plant them.
“And that’s great. I mean, every age, everyone getting involved — that’s wonderful.”
Other community groups have shown a willingness to help with the garden. The SPLASH Centre will make benches, planters and signs, and Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador will provide four Green Team members to offer help. A garden co-ordinator will also be hired through the Green Team.
Raised beds are being built for the new community garden project in Harbour Grace. Pictured having a look at the handiwork are, from the left, Billie Cooper and Evan Hynes from WEatherfield Farm in Harbour Grace and Billie’s father Gary Cooper.