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Gold River Community Garden gets its start

Community garden helps with food security in village

Thanks to the initiative of a resident with a green thumb, Gold River will be seeing a new community garden take root over the next few weeks.

Last September, Lisa Poitras had the idea to build a community garden in the village of Gold River. She thought the community was perfect for it, there were plenty of little-used spaces, the village does not have a grocery store and people tend to come together in the village to support things like this. However, she realized the process of getting something going isn’t always as easy as it seems.

“I started looking into it and found that it had been tried a couple of times, but it just hadn’t gone through,” Poitras said. “I talked to the village and they said I needed to put in a proposal, which is something I’d never really done before. I put in a proposal, which wasn’t great — pretty much just me asking them for some land, and gave them a couple of options of places I thought would be good.”

After coming back with a more fullsome proposal, the village approved the garden and things were off and running. Poitras signed an agreement for a 1,500 square foot plot of land near the Jack Christensen Centre and started to work.

“We started digging in, which is great. Planted some pumpkins the other day and raspberry bushes,” she said. “There’s still more that we need. We did a bake sale so we have a little bit of money, but we’ve put in for grants and hopefully then we’ll be able to get fencing and things that cost lots of money.

“We’ve got lots of local businesses that have put in a ton of time and donations. Forestry here is milling me up some wood for boxes,” Poitras said. “Grieg Seafood has agreed to pay for the soils. Smaller businesses too have helped out.”

This year, things are going to look a bit different than Poitras’ end goal. To get things started, she is going to do things little by little and make it sort of a free-for-all. However she does have plans to set up a more structured way of doing things.

“I’ve got a really awesome layout, which is my end goal. There’s a fenced area, boxes, trees, a greenhouse and everything. It’s not going to look like that this year, it’s not going to look like that next year. Depending on grants and whatnot. This year I’m just going to start planting some things and make it a free-for-all. I’ve got pumpkins planted so kids can pick them,” she said. “I polled the community and they said that they would prefer a cooperative, so everyone helps out and then the produce is shared. A percentage would go to the food bank. It all depends.”

For now, she is happy to just get into the dirt.

“We’re just waiting on the boxes, but other than that, we’re finally getting going,” she said “I definitely wanted this to be going closer to April, but we’re in June and that’s OK. The cooler weather has kind of been a blessing.”

If anyone would like to help out, either by lending a hand or by donating supplies like tools, a shed or even bigger things like fencing, they can reach Poitras through the Gold River Community Garden Facebook page.

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