The Port Alice Community Garden held their first meeting of 2018 on March 24 at the Port Alice Community Centre.
From the small group of about 10 people attending, a board of directors was nominated and elected, with Faerlyn Bush as chair, Brenda Seymour as treasurer, Carrie Noel a director, and Debra Lynn the secretary and vice chair.
The first stage of the community garden was pronounced complete with 31 raised beds built, filled with soil, and ready for planting.
The next phase will be the completion of a chain link fence around the perimeter. Still to come in the plan are a garden shed, greenhouses, compost bins, honey bee hives, and a “food forest” with fruit trees and berry bushes.Originally, the planners of the community garden intended to develop a system of rain water reservoirs for watering; however, thanks to the Village of Port Alice, plumbing has been installed on the premises. An irrigation system has been designed by volunteers to bring water to the individual raised beds.
Faerlyn presented a draft policy agreement developed from her extensive experience with community gardens in Vancouver. In addition to the $30 annual fee for a raised bed, members will be required to invest a minimum of ten volunteer hours on projects. They will be required to work a minimum of four of those volunteer hours before being able to sign up for a raised bed. Plots need to be planted by May 1. After that date, if any are left, they will be distributed to members who would like a second bed. Plots must be tended regularly and kept weed and disease free. They must be winterized by November 1, unless they are to be used for fall and winter gardening.
Committees will need to be established for membership maintenance, composting and site maintenance. Throughout the season there will be workshops, special events and other “fun stuff.”
Only organic gardening methods will be allowed. Broad spectrum herbicides, insecticides or fungicides are prohibited. Because the community garden will have bees, any of those products can be harmful to them and possibly even wipe them out. Faerlyn mentioned she is contact with an entomologist who can supply the society with beneficial insects, such as lady bugs and praying mantis, that can be purchased at a reasonable rate and do much of the work instead of insecticides.
Pets will not be allowed in the garden. Children and non-members, however, are welcome. The gates will not be locked so that anyone who wishes can go there to relax and appreciate nature.
There are plans to eventually put in a gazebo for this purpose. There are no plans for formal parking; people are encouraged to walk to the garden. An area will be set aside for those with disabilities to park on level ground.
Of the 31 raised beds, 16 have been spoken for. The $30 fee will cover the cost of insurance only, so any new costs will need to be covered by fund-raising or additional grants.
The remaining money from the original New Horizons for Seniors Program grant will be used to complete the remaining portions of the project included in the grant application.
There will be another general meeting open to all who are interested on Saturday April 21 at 4 p.m. in room 101 at the Port Alice Community Centre.
This will be an last chance opportunity for the community to reserve a raised bed while they are still available, and join work committees to fulfill their volunteer requirement.
– Debra Lynn article