New com­mu­nity gar­den in Har­bour Main

Project in­cludes ed­i­ble forest fea­tur­ing fruit trees

The Compass - - Front page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­[email protected]­n­com­pass.ca

Af­ter re­cently se­cur­ing some fund­ing for such a project through the Com­mu­nity Health Liv­ing Fund, the Har­bour Main re­cre­ation com­mit­tee, chaired by Suzette Doyle, have pro­vided the com­mu­nity with a new com­mu­nity gar­den, com­plete with trees bear­ing fruits such as plums, ap­ples, and pears.

A new com­mu­nity gar­den in Har­bour Main is look­ing to bring peo­ple to­gether through a love for food and the out­doors.

The town’s re­cre­ation com­mit­tee, chaired by Suzette Doyle, got the ball rolling on the project when it se­cured startup funds from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment through the Com­mu­nity Healthy Liv­ing Fund.

The Church of Saints. Peter and Paul Par­ish agreed to pro­vide a hectare of land next to its ceme­tery, and the town agreed to help clear and pre­pare the land.

A sep­a­rate gar­den com­mit­tee now over­sees the plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment for the 20-plot gar­den and its or­chard.

The or­chard came about through a grant from Trees Canada that en­abled the com­mit­tee to pur­chase and plant over 30 fruit trees that will pro­duce ap­ples, plums and pears.

Nic Fair­bridge, a mem­ber of the gar­den and re­cre­ation com­mit­tees, says it will take a few years for some of these trees to bear fruit.

It’s not al­to­gether cer­tain what will hap­pen with the fruit from the trees and berries from shrubs, but Fair­bridge has ideas.

“Right now, we’re just open, we’re just go­ing with what the com­mu­nity is in­ter­ested in, whether that’s go­ing to be a u-pick (or) a crop share,” Fair­bridge told The Com­pass dur­ing a re­cent visit to the gar­den. “What I’d re­ally like to see is pos­si­bly use some of the pro­duce to get our se­niors to­gether and all those other folks who might have skills, whether that’s brew­ing, bak­ing, can­ning, what­ever, and teach the next gen­er­a­tion (those skills). Then, maybe, we can sell some of the canned goods and other stuff back to the com­mu­nity . . . as a fundraiser to keep adding to the gar­den.”

There are 18 fam­i­lies us­ing the plots. Most of them ost are rel­a­tively new to gar­den­ing, ac­cord­ing to Fair­bridge. Two ad­di­tional plots are re­served for the town’s sum­mer youth pro­gram.

“A lot of it is folks who have young kids, and they just want to get their kids into (gar­den­ing),” he says.

So far, the gar­den­ers have grown cab­bage, broc­coli, onion, let­tuce, car­rots and a va­ri­ety of other veg­eta­bles. Fair­bridge says the com­mit­tee will look to build more boxes each year if there’s in­ter­est in us­ing them.

“A lot of it is folks who have young kids, and they just want to get their kids into (gar­den­ing).”

— Nic Fair­bridge

A res­i­dent re­cently do­nated two large plas­tic con­tain­ers that the vol­un­teer fire depart­ment has helped keep full of water.

Down the road, there’s talk of set­ting up some fenc­ing to re­duce wind ex­po­sure and build­ing a com­mu­nity com­poster. The com­mit­tee would also like to host a har­vest feast in the fall.

“There’s not go­ing to be much of a har­vest this year, but as we go, what we’d re­ally like to see is a har­vest din­ner,” Fair­bridge says. “Years and years ago, a lot of folks talked about a town dance that used to be held in the par­ish hall. I guess it was just an an­nual event, and there’s al­ways been a push to bring it back. So, we thought this would per­haps be an op­por­tu­nity, along with the har­vest side, just to do a com­mu­nity din­ner.”

In ad­di­tion to the re­cre­ation com­mit­tee, Fair­bridge ac­knowl­edges the town’s beau­ti­fi­ca­tion com­mit­tee, chaired by Pa­tri­cia Kelly, has been very sup­port­ive in get­ting a com­mu­nity gar­den es­tab­lished in Har­bour Main.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON — THE COM­PASS

A sea buck­thorn bush pro­duces tart berries. It’s also use­ful when it comes to im­prov­ing soil, as it re­leases ni­tro­gen into the earth.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON — THE COM­PASS

Nic Fair­bridge be­lieves a lot of good things will come from the new com­mu­nity gar­den in Har­bour Main.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Through a grant from Trees Canada, the com­mit­tee was able to pur­chase and plant an ed­i­ble forest in the com­mu­nity gar­den that in­cludes over 30 fruit trees.

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