By Karen McColl
If you want to grow your own vegetables but don’t have the space or materials, now is your chance: pick up an application from the Modern Cafe or Valhalla Pure and plan on attending a planting orientation this Tuesday May 25 at 4 pm.
Thanks to a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust, the North Columbia Environmental Society (NCES), partnered with the Revelstoke United Church, was able to fulfill their goal of creating a downtown community garden space. This organic vegetable and ornamentals garden will be located on church property on the southeast corner of Mackenzie Avenue and Third Street.
In an auspicious turn of events this past winter, NCES president Sarah Newton connected with Kate Walsh, a Revelstoke resident with a background in horticultural landscape design. After helping Newton come up with a budget for the grant application she helped design the garden layout, which includes vegetable plots, ornamentals and flowers, herbs and other shared areas (see pictures).
“It’s been a collective effort and a lot of people put input into it,” Walsh says. “I’m just the person who has put pen to paper.”
Each individual garden plot measures 12 square feet and will cost $20 (plus a $10 refundable deposit), which should yield a substantial return on investment. About 20 private plots are available and gardeners will also have access to shared areas and be responsible for some general maintenance tasks.
The application form is meant to ensure the applicant’s commitment.
“This process is to create ownership and pride and to be self-maintaining,” says Walsh, who is working as part of a nine-person steering committee to oversee the project details.
In addition to funding from the CBT, the community garden is receiving lumber for the raised garden beds from Downie Mill and irrigation hardware from SPM landscaping. A large rock will be brought in by the City of Revelstoke and mounted with the following plaque (plus sponsors’ logos):
Downtown Community Garden
“ Growing Together”
Although the lawn at the United Church currently looks… grassy, this will all change on Saturday when Walsh and other volunteers start the “grunt work.” By the time Tuesday rolls around for the planting orientation this area will be transformed into a functional garden space. All are welcome to assist with this transformation.
To help kick start the growing season, the committee is happily accepting donations of the following items: any and all kinds of vegetable starters, heirlooms and heritage varieties, ornamental plants such as lavender, rhubarb, “funky flowering kale varieties,” and day lilies. Anyone wanting to donate plants is asked to contact Walsh at the number below.
Eventually, the goal is to use the garden as an outdoor classroom for school children and community groups.
“It will be a nice educational tool,” explains Walsh, adding that a planned composting area could offer great workshop opportunities.
This garden could be a step in the right direction for Revelstoke. Not only do initiatives like this increase our collective food security, they also strengthen our sense of community. Some of the vegetables collected from the garden will go towards community programs such as soup kitchens and other events.
“We’re really excited about this project because even though it’s small on the food production side, it’s making a big statement,” Walsh says. “We hope it will evolve into something bigger.”
To contact Kate Walsh about donating your time or plants, or to enquire about a garden plot, please call 250-814-3833.