Community garden on Rossland Ave. gets green light

“This garden is a testament to the generous and caring nature of the people who call our communities home.” - Gina Ironmonger

The Community Food Bank Garden isn’t getting squashed this summer after all.

Since Gina Ironmonger from the Edible Landscape Committee took Trail Mayor Mike Martin on a go-see of the Gulch locale and clarified the project’s scope, council reconsidered and gave it a thumbs up Monday night.

“This garden is a testament to the generous and caring nature of the people who call our communities home,” Ironmonger told the Trail Times Tuesday.

“It really is a continuation of what we started last year with Trail’s incrEDIBLE Green Route,” she explained. “The difference is that volunteers will be planting and tending the planters with the produce grown for the food banks.”

Typically, urban community gardens are fenced-in spaces with individual plots for residents, who live nearby, to grow their own food.

That’s not the case in Trail, explained Ironmonger, while clarifying misunderstandings to council about the site’s layout, preparation, type of planters, costs and action plan to minimize bear attractants.

She maintains the concepts behind the project is food security and sustainability, so all planters will be self watering to reduce water waste and time, be used as a teaching garden, and all fresh produce will be donated to Trail food banks.

“As you are probably aware,” she wrote to council. “Kate’s Kitchen serves 600 meals per month and the Anglican and United churches give food to approximately 200 people per week. Fresh and nutritious food provides inspiration and mentoring as we grow our incrEDIBLE trail.”

Prior to Ironmonger’s clarification, the city estimated the community garden cost to be $15,000 taking into account the requirement for a six foot bear-proof fence.

Not needed, Ironmonger says, because after a neighbourhood canvas, the residents claimed bears haven’t been a problem for some time. The group went a step further, and along with WildSafe BC collaboration, reviewed garden management to avoid growing certain attractants.

Melons, pumpkins, fruit and berries can attract bears and won’t be planted she said, noting compost, which can also attract bruins, will not be done on site.

Another amenity not needed for planter-style gardening is irrigation. Because the property is not developed, the city originally estimated a $4,000 cost to hook up water.

Also not required, Ironmonger says, because the adjoining neighbour offered use of her time and water to keep the garden growing.

Using the planter model and volunteer hands, the city’s financial impact is minimal. Council agreed to infuse $1,250 for grading and dust suppression at the site, which is located across from the Colombo Lodge.

The overall cost is estimated to be around $5,000, which the landscape committee is hoping to cover through Columbia Basin Trust’s upcoming community initiatives grant  program.

“Our caring sharing vision continues to move forward,” said Ironmonger, adding that the group is always looking for volunteers to grow the incrEDIBLE trail.

For information or to join, call 368.6855 or email incredibletrail@gmail.com.

Another new landscape initiative slated this weekend is the city’s first Seed Saturday. The event goes from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in St. Andrew’s Anglican Church hall. Gardening experts will be on hand to answer questions from all levels of gardeners. Vendors, educational booths and a free children’s planting workshop are included in activities planned to entertain all ages.