Gardening in Almonte:  Mayor vindicated!

David

Last week I reported on a conversation with the mayor about the drought conditions that are making life very difficult for gardeners and farmers. The mayor quipped that we can be pretty sure that we will have rain on Canada Day just in time for the town’s celebrations! Sure enough in late afternoon thunder and lightening were all around us in Gemmill Park. We skedaddled out of the park right behind ‘His Honour’ just as the heavens opened up – at least in this instance I was very happy to follow his lead.

According to my rain meter we had close to an inch of very welcome precipitation. However, this was not nearly enough – the moisture has been quickly absorbed by the soil – gardeners and farmers are still desperately in need of rain – please do everything that you can to conserve water.

Augusta Park – Five Wednesdays in July!

Augusta Park is the place to be in July! Every Wednesday (still called Five Wednesdays even though there are only four this year!) from 6 to 8pm features music and food. Come and tour our greatly expanded garden. Our volunteers have been busy pulling weeds, hoeing and spreading straw and chips.

This year features a stellar line-up of kind hearted musicians that are all playing for free in this wonderful community park for our pleasure this July. The first show takes place this week on July 6th with an amazing group of musicians that includes Johnny Spinks, Gord St.Aubin, Earl Mousseau and Arlene Quinn. This Wednesday will also feature a BBQ provided by the Civitan Club.

Music in Augusta Park is for me a powerful demonstration of connections between food, gardening and community. Food is one of the most basic of human needs, none of us can isolate ourselves from a complete and total reliance on food if we are to survive, if not thrive. Food insecurity is truly a horrible thing to contemplate. It invokes a visceral response in me when I read that a large proportion of our population depends on food banks for a significant amount of their food each month.

The connection between food and gardening is fairly obvious. For those of us, like myself, that were fortunate enough to grow up on a farm, it was taken for granted that a very large part of our food for the year would be grown, processed and stored using our own expertise.

Very often the partaking of food is a communal activity. Likewise so can the growing of food.

Why does the sharing of food create a sense of community? This is something that I think is taken for granted as a constant in our society. Virtually every special occasion is built around food and drink.

I am not proposing that we should all go out and grow our own food. What I am saying is that the need for community is a pretty basic human need. There are many ways to connect with other humans and to build community. Growing food together in my experience creates community. Of course it is not the only way but it is a very powerful one.

There are no stupid questions!

Hands-on educational opportunities are available weekly throughout the summer at the community garden in Augusta Park. ‘Weed and learn’ sessions take place every Thursday through the growing season. Join us at Augusta Park Community Garden from 9 to 11 in the morning or from 4 to 8 in the evening every Thursday for collaborative community gardening sessions as we share our knowledge, mentor new gardeners, weed our garden and berm and share fellowship. Master Gardeners will be there to help with your gardening concerns for both the Augusta gardeners as well as for any other gardeners in the community.

“The Great Veggie Grow-Off”

Please remember to drop off surplus garden produce at the Lanark County Food Bank. All you have to do is bring your armfuls of produce to the Food Bank at 5 Allan Street in Carleton Place and make sure that it is weighed and credited to Mississippi Mills.

Unfortunately, I reported incorrect hours last week. The correct hours when the Food Bank is open are:

Mon:
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Tue:
9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Wed:
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Thu-Fri:
9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Try to drop it off first thing in the morning if possible.

The Great Veggie Grow-off Community Challenge, now in its third year, has expanded this year to include gardeners in communities across Lanark supporting all four of the food banks in the County. It started in the municipalities of Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place and Beckwith, the towns supported by the Hunger Stop, and the results were amazing. We saw an increase in people in these towns growing food and sharing it with others. Over two tons of healthy local produce was donated to the food bank last year and the feedback from recipients was extremely positive.

This year we are challenging all Lanark communities plus Smiths Falls to grow and donate to their local food bank. Presently all four food banks (Carleton Place, Lanark, Perth and Smiths Falls) take donations of freshly grown produce. They have been asked to weigh and record the community of origin of locally grown donations of food from May 1st until the final weigh-in at Thanksgiving. Bragging rights will be given to the community that donates the greatest amount of locally grown food as well as to the community with the highest amount of freshly grown food donated per person with the big winner always being our community’s food banks.

 

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