Campbell River gardeners are going to have to grow at home if they want to do any planting this year, as Greenways Trust has decided to close its community gardens to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“We feel that this is the right thing to do as it would be impossible to check on the gardens 24/7 if COVID-19 requirements were respected and followed at all times,” said Greenways spokesperson Lydia Stratemann in an email. “The age demographic of our lovely gardeners is another factor that impacts our decision.”
Greenways helps run two community gardens in town, Laughing Willow community garden in the Willow Point area, and Mountain View community garden. Around 60 people typically use the gardens. Greenways will be maintaining the gardens through the closure to prevent weeds and ensure they are secure, but gardeners will not be allowed to use their plots until further notice.
“It is a tough step to take, knowing how important gardening is for each member – especially as most of them don’t have the opportunity to grow food on their own property,” Stratemann added.
“A large number of gardeners live in apartments. I personally feel sad having to postpone everyone’s gardening season until further notice. Digging in the dirt, socializing with gardening friends, discussing gardening best practice, learning from each other and growing healthy fresh foods are making our community gardens a happy place,” she said.
The impact of the closure will affect around 100 people in the city, since gardeners typically share their harvest and plot space to other community and family members.
Greenways is working to develop a community food forest near the Mountain View garden, which when complete will allow people to harvest free food from trees, once mature. The trust also operates a fruit tree project in the fall.
The Campbell River Garden Education Centre has posted on their website that they would be delaying the opening of the centre, which usually happens in April. No workshops or tours have been scheduled at the facility.