Res­i­dents gear up to grow in Har­bour Grace

New com­mu­nity gar­den cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties

The Compass - - Front Page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

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 hrgracecom­mu­ni­ty­gar­den@gmail.com. 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.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

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.

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