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While many with green thumbs in the Third might be starting to turn their attention to harvesting their bounty; prepping their soil for the colder weather; and planning their fall bulbs, the staff at CBRM’s recreation and community economic development departments is hoping that gardeners will dust off the garden dirt and give their fingernails a good scrub to attend a community session about the future of community gardens in the Third.

CBRM is looking for those who are or are wanting to get their hands dirty while creating community gardens in the Third. The municipality is hoping to grow the capacity of our community gardens and all they have to offer.

Community gardens aren’t new but during the last few decades there surely has been a resurgence in their popularity. They began two centuries ago to address social problems such as economic recessions, wars, environmental injustice, and food insecurity. However, they all had one shared rule: the gardens would be accessible to the community. Sometimes a community garden might have a membership, by it was for the community to work and enjoy.

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

Today we are seeing the return of the gardens for many of the same reasons. But two hundred years later, our notions of society and social responsibility have expanded and so have the opportunities and benefits of working the land collectively.

The community gardens of today have many purposes and are designed to meet the needs of the community’s gardening goals. Often gardens will have a focus on community development, food production, beautification, education, or therapeutic use.

Community gardens are known for creating a sense of community among neighbours while providing healthy food. They also create welcoming and safe communities and reduce the carbon footprint by decreasing the shipping of food.

They make a lot of sense during a period of high food prices and an uncertain future.

For these reasons and more, CBRM wants to bring together all of those in the Third who are interested in the concept of community gardens.

The first meeting of the green thumbs takes place this Thursday at the Eltuek Arts Centre between 1 and 4 p.m. The purpose of this inaugural gathering is to hear from gardeners.

“How can we help?” asks William Roy, the community economic development officer with CBRM. He says the municipality is hoping to grow the capacity of community gardens and community gardeners. “We want to know how we can best support our community gardeners,” he says. “We want to know about their challenges, the opportunities to learn from one another, and how we can collaborate with them so that grow goes farther.”

Roy notes that there are not many formal opportunities for community gardeners to gather and discuss their garden projects. “The meeting will allow gardeners to discuss their plans and goals with CBRM staff who are there to listen and support their needs,” says Roy. “We can help facilitate garden collaborations, navigate grants, and identity other resources in the community, such as APAC’s community garden guide and the libraries seed library.”

Roy recognizes that we are closer to Halloween than we are to the Easter Bunny. He says the meeting will help the municipality be prepared to support the Third’s budding community gardeners next year.

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