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LivingGardeningGardening in Almonte: Lots of Good Things Going on! UPDATE

Gardening in Almonte: Lots of Good Things Going on! UPDATE


[EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this post was missing some content. Apologies for the inconvenience.]

Who has seen the rain?

The concern about the lack of rain that I commented on last week is now somewhat abated as there appears to be significant rainfall in the forecast – good news for gardeners – not so much for barbeque aficionados.

Neighbourhood Tomato Work Party

The heavy lifting started on Saturday April 30 at Augusta Park. An enthusiastic group of community gardeners We need people with rakes, shovels, and wheelbarrows to help get the beds ready for planting. We need to mount a major campaign to eliminate as much of perennial grasses as well so will be renting a sod cutter to make this work a bit easier.

Come one, come all – bring drinks and snacks if you can’t shovel. Come for an hour, come for the morning, or come all day. All help will be appreciated.

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Food Bank Garden

I am overcome with gratitude to all those who gave so generously of their time to help create new vegetable growing boxes at the Food Bank. I am very happy to include an article on the garden that was prepared by Petra Graber of the Good Food Company on behalf of the Carleton Place BIA.

“Something exciting is budding at the Lanark County Food Bank in Carleton Place. The newly branded ‘The Hunger Stop’ has built raised garden boxes in the front yard of their 5 Allan Street location. Another long row of boxes was constructed along the side of the building. All are filled with rich-looking black soil which is warming in the spring sun in preparation for planting.

The side boxes will be planted with raspberry canes and the front boxes with a variety of vegetables, including radishes, lettuce, carrots, beets, peppers, and tomatoes. The 30″-high raised beds are easily accessible for weeding and harvesting. A café table and chairs will invite people to sit and enjoy the garden. Signage will help educate food bank clients and the larger community about gardening and about the health – and taste benefits of eating fresh, locally-grown food. As a bonus, the planters and seating area will help to beautify our downtown.

Karin Nakamura, manager of our food bank, describes the garden as a teaching and mentoring space for garden-related topics. There are plans to hold at least one workshop per week in the garden facilitated by volunteers from local horticultural societies, master gardeners, the Public Health Unit, and skilled cooks, among others. Participants in the workshops will be literally getting their hands dirty weeding, transplanting, and harvesting!”

The food bank is looking for coordinators to organize workshops and information sessions as well as someone to recruit volunteers for planting, weeding, and harvesting duties. The food bank is also looking for qualified people willing and able to give talks or workshops on gardening and good food. Please visit the website at, Facebook at or call 613-257-8546 for more information.

Great Veggie Grow-Off May 1

“The Hunger Stop,” at 5 Allan Street in Carleton Place was the place to be on Sunday as a crowd gathered for the launch of the Lanark County Great Veggie Grow-off which was followed by a tour and open house at The Hunger Stop’s (aka Lanark County Food Bank) newly expanded and renovated premises. I did a brief introduction of behalf of the Food Bank, Glennis Harwig gave an impassioned plea for local food on behalf of the Neighbourhood Tomato, Carleton Place mayor Louis Antonakos gave a very passionate speech recalling hardships and hunger his parents had suffered when they came to Canada and Mississippi Mills mayor Shaun McLaughlin brought some beautiful parsnips that had over-wintered in his garden. Gardening celebrity Ed Lawrence planted turnips and spoke against spraying for wild parsnip. And the challenge is on with Mississippi Mills scoring the first points with the four pounds of parsnips from Mayor Shaun!

Food Bank Chair Karen Lomas and Manager Karin Nakamura spoke about the Food Bank renovations and rebranding and thanked a long list of local businesses that helped make the renovations possible with their incredible generosity. Shirley King, a volunteer since the Food Bank was opened, cut the ribbon. Tours of the newly renovated building followed with lots of lively conversations and some amazing snacks prepared by volunteers.

The Great Veggie Grow-off Community Challenge, now in its third year, has expanded 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 all 9 Lanark communities have been challenged to grow and donate to their local food bank. 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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