Gardening in Almonte: Pakenham Project Approved!!

David

The Hunger Stop (aka Lanark County Food Bank) was delighted to learn last week that our application for a grant to build a community vegetable garden in Pakenham has been approved.

We will receive the entire amount of $3528 that we asked for.

The build date for the garden is Thursday May 3 and Friday May 4 – each day the work starts at 11 am and ends at 3 pm (I understand that there will be pizza for lunch!) The date has already been shifted – we originally planned to start the garden April 19 and 20 to coincide with Earth Day – but Mother Nature obviously has her own plans and perhaps we were being a tad optimistic! {This was a not-so-pleasant reminder of 2017. The build project at the Carleton Place Community Garden had to be postponed four times because the garden was under water. It was finally finished in the first week of June.}

The Pakenham garden is a partnership between the Hunger Stop and the Pakenham elementary school, with the support of several other organizations – the site is on land owned by the school but is not within the fenced portion of the school-yard so is readily accessible by the community. The site is in a highly visible part of town next to the Community Centre and Arena and a block away from the library.

The funding comes from Food Banks Canada’s +Fresh Gardens & Growing Fund. This is a program that supports the gardening initiatives of the food bank network.

Many food banks across the country are taking the lead in their communities in the development and support of local garden and growing. These initiatives support the growth and increased consumption of fresh food amongst participants, help to build a sense of community, offer participants an opportunity to gain confidence and skills through gardening, supply food banks and other food programs with fresh produce, and help educate participants about food, nutrition, gardening, and local food systems.

The plan is for the creation of a relatively low maintenance 1500 square foot garden beside the school (raised boxes with wood chip pathways). Construction will be undertaken by volunteers from a local men’s group along with parents and school kids and anyone from the community that wants to join in. The basic bones of the garden will be 18 low-raised boxes with a central ‘courtyard’ surrounded by four high-raised boxes that will be handicap-accessible and that will serve as teaching/demonstration beds.

About half will be for Food Bank use; the other half will be used for community residents, school programs and school groups such as the garden club. Maintenance activities such as planting, weeding, watering and harvesting will be performed by a combination of Food Bank volunteers, parents and teachers. The Pakenham Horticultural Society, the Library, the Public Health Unit and Master Gardeners will provide leadership – supporting the project with ongoing management and educational support.

As well the Pakenham Hort will use some of the beds as part of their junior gardener program that will be combined with the school’s garden club. This activity continues over the summer. The Lanark Master Gardeners group will provide a weekly teaching and mentoring session throughout the gardening season and will provide seeds and plant material.

The Hunger Stop (Lanark County Food Bank) serves Beckwith, Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills – the town of Pakenham is at the northern edge of the territory. The Hunger Stop has long been concerned that we are invisible in this town and are not reaching those in need, such as isolated seniors. One of the important reasons for this garden development in Pakenham is to raise the profile of the Hunger Stop to ensure that no one in the community goes hungry.

While the Hunger Stop storefront is in Carleton Place, satellite operations are in place in Almonte and Pakenham. If you find that you are going hungry or know of someone that is or wish to make a donation please call the Hunger Stop at 613-257-8546.