Letter: Clarifying The Morinville Community Gardens

Morinville Centennial Community Gardens has been a successful sustainable living initiative. After our first growing season using space behind the Morinville United Church (to grow fruits, vegetables and community spirit), we were thrilled that the Town worked with us to redesign the land at Champlain Park. Our group has received generous support from businesses, individuals and families.

This support has enabled us to create 18 additional plots this second growing season, establish food bank plots, construct a fence and plant trees, a herb garden and a variety of perennials for all to enjoy.

The plan for Champlain Park is a three-year project to revitalize the space that can be used by children and teens who use the basketball court which will be left in place and the gardening plots now created, as well as future plans to add more trees and plants and even a fire pit available to all community members. We are excited about the encouragement we have received and the reality that so many people in our community want to become involved in a concrete way whether that means donating their time, talents or money. We have experienced minor growing pains in trying to accommodate all those people looking for a space to grow food for themselves and their families and a few incidences of vandalism and/or theft. But overall, we are truly blessed that this project has moved forward with so much support and so few obstacles. It is exciting to think about the future possibilities for growth with this passionate response.

It is clear from comments and questions that our members have received that not everyone is clear about who gets to pick the crops being grown in our gardens. The crops from the Food Bank plots are destined for donation to our local Food Bank in order to pass on the benefits of growing organic fruits and vegetables to our neighbours in need. We are interested in working with volunteers from the community who can donate their time to weed, water and collect the food in these plots to pass on to others.

On the other hand, the plots on the south end of Champlain Park and those behind the Morinville United Church are all rented out to members from the community who pay for the use of the space and who are responsible for planting, weeding, watering and harvesting their crops. Basically, if you are not renting a plot and caring for the crops, you should not be harvesting them as they belong to someone. Additionally, each of our members is required to donate their time and their talents to some degree in order to help the group as a whole whether that means spending time harvesting food bank plots, weeding perennial beds, watering trees or helping out at our second annual Fall Supper coming up in October. As a group, we care for the grass in the entire space, weed and water plants and trees and ensure that everything within the space is well cared for in order to ensure the longevity of the space for the community.

Champlain Park is open for the public to enjoy and there are benches to have a picnic or simply to sit amongst the greenery.

We all hope that as we continue to expand, we can find ways to involve more of our neighbours and give others a chance to grow food for their families too. If you would like to know more, please visit our website www.morinvillecommunitygardens.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/morinvillecommunitygardens, send us an email gardeninfo@morinvillecommunitygardens.com or visit our table at the Active Living Fair on September 6th at the Community Cultural Center.

The members of Morinville Centennial Community Gardens

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