TRAVIS WINTERWED PHOTOS The inside and the outside of the new seniors’ greenhouse at the Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Centre in Port Hardy. What a change from the once grey, gravelly square the space used to be!

Seniors’ greenhouse a resounding success

“The greenhouse has proved to be a big success”

The Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society have transformed what was once a grey, gravelly square into a space exploding with life and colour. Thanks to donations, volunteers, and an age friendly community planning grant given through the Union of BC Municipalities, there is a new greenhouse at the Seniors Centre that’s full to bursting with fresh produce.

“The greenhouse has proved to be a big success,” says Rosaline Glynn, Chair of the society. “We’re eating fresh cucumber out of the greenhouse today. Kale was in the soup last week. People are really excited about that.”

Featuring an access ramp, level flooring and raised beds, the greenhouse is wheelchair and walker friendly. “It gets people outside,” says Vice Chair Kris Huddlestan. Planting started the second week of May and all that hard work is now bearing fruit. Well, vegetables anyways.

“We have potatoes, we have zucchini, baby bok choy, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, kale, green beans, scarlet runner beans, sugar snap peas, beets, parsley, lots of basil, lots of tomatoes,” lists Huddlestan. The produce will go into the weekly home-made soups Kris and her helpers make as well as go home with the members who most need it.

The extra food comes at a good time as membership at the Senior Citizens Society has more than doubled in the last few years. However, while the food will be put to good use, Glynn says that a recent impact study revealed what was most important to the society’s members. “We found out that what they came here for, what we thought was the food, has now become secondary. The fellowship and friendship is more important than the food, even though the food is still important.”

This suits Glynn just fine. “Our goal here is to provide a family.”

The society could still use some younger members too. “We’re open to anybody over 19. One thing we’re really lacking is somebody who doesn’t mind getting on a stepladder and decorating.” She laughs. “None of us will get on a stepladder anymore.”

The seniors will be officially unveiling their greenhouse with a barbeque on July 14 for volunteers, members and everyone who’s donated to the greenhouse. Pie and ice cream will be available by donation and the proceeds will help to defray the cost of a new roof for the Seniors Centre.

“We’ve had so many volunteers and so many people in the community who’ve helped that we would love for them to come,” says Huddlestan.

– Travis Winterwed article

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