New Community Garden
Report From Kenora, OntarioBy Marion MacAdam, Project Coordinator
email@example.comMay 5, 1996. Crocuses are finally blooming! Patches of snow remain only in shady areas. Heard the sound of ducks in the bay, and picked a bonquet of pussy willows , so maybe its spring! This author lives by a lake about 20 minutes from the Town of Kenora. The ice on the lake is beginning to look blue and is melting along the edges, so perhaps in a week or two we might get breakup and see the water flowing once more.
Hello and greetings from the Kenora Community Gardening Coalition! Kenora is the last town in Ontario before the Manitoba border. We are 2 hours from Winnipeg, Manitoba and 6 hours away from our closest Ontario city, Thunder Bay. Our population, including adjacent towns, is approximately 24,000. Our winters are long, and severe. We started this past winter in October and we had our last snow storm April 25th!
This will be our first year for a community garden! We are renting 10' x 12' plots for $5.00. Over 30 people have registered to date, some are even asking for double plots. So, who is gardening in Kenora?
The gardeners are as diverse as our population base.
- retired folk wanting to explore new techniques of growing with mulch;
- backyard gardening enthusiasts, who along with their neighbours or relatives, want to grow extra food for the winter;
- first nation people who want to rekindle their lost art of growing potatoes and corn;
- apartment dwellers anxious to get their hands dirty and reap the pleasures of homegrown produce;
- parents who want to share the gardening experience with their children.
Our Coalition began this project in March and already we have had requests from Ear Falls, Sioux Lookout and Geralton on how to get started and where to access money. We anticipate that in a few years, all our communities in the Northwest (Ontario) will have their own community gardens up and running, but currently, we have the only site in the region. We have contacted people in both Winnipeg and Thunder Bay to determine the scope of their gardening activities and build our outreach network.
We hope to be in our gardens by the end of May. The ground has not thawed yet, but we have already begun clearing . An adjacent municipality has donated the land and they will be doing the initial site preparation work in partnership with some people who need to work off some community service time.
One of our biggest concerns is damage to our gardens from bears. Last year, officials moved 60 bears out of Kenora! Homeowners were reluctant to walk down their street after supper for fear of running into a black bear! At our house, our dog's barking kept bears up trees for hours. We were fortunate that the bears did not do any damage to our garden, but they have destroyed our composter. All our guests last summer were delighted to see bears closeup, but although they look so cute and cuddly, they are very dangerous ! This winter was so severe, some believe that many bears did not make it through the winter. One can only hope!
We would be pleased to hear from other community gardening projects.