Circle the date October 14! Yes, that’s right – this Saturday, sun or rain from 11am to 1pm; we are having a garden party at the Carleton Place Community Garden at 176 Townline Road in Carleton Place (access through St. Gregory Catholic School parking lot). We are celebrating the rejuvenation and expansion of the Carleton Place Community Garden as well as announcing the winners in the Great Veggie Grow-Off.
The excitement is palpable as the municipalities of Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place are in a virtual tie as we head into the final week. The last tally shows both municipalities at the 2,000 pound mark as both mayors trash talk the opposition!
All nine Lanark communities were challenged on May to grow and donate to their local food bank. This Community Challenge, now in its fourth year, expanded last year to include gardeners in communities across Lanark supporting all four of the food banks in the County. The four food banks weigh and record the community of origin of locally grown donations of food from May 1st until the final weigh-in.
A grand total of 10,094 pounds of healthy local produce was donated to the four food banks last year. At the final weigh-in last fall Mississippi Mills walked away with the trophy for the largest amount of fresh garden produce donated to its food bank (3,385 lbs.) and Drummond/North Elmsley got the trophy for most food per capita donated to its food bank (283 lbs per 1000 persons).
The final wrap-up will take place at noon as our judge, CBC gardening celebrity Ed Lawrence, announces the winners and presents the trophies. The total contributions are much lower so far this year as many gardeners are reporting much lower than usual harvests as the unending rain in the spring and summer wreaked havoc with gardens. Please bring what you can to share with our neighbours.
The garden party also celebrates a major expansion and rejuvenation of the Carleton Place Community Garden to an 8,000 square foot oasis. There will be music and refreshments as we thank all those that made the garden project possible.
The project was a joint effort of the Carleton Place Community Gardeners in partnership with the Lanark County Food Bank (aka the Hunger Stop) funded by a $4,700 grant from a program administered by the Ontario Association of Food Banks with funding coming from Sysco, a large food wholesaling and distribution company. Many local businesses also contributed to the cause with discounts and gifts.
The Carleton Place Community Garden was initially developed 11 years ago and after many years of successful gardening, the need for rejuvenation had become apparent. The garden was expanded, rotted lumber was recycled, new accessible raised beds were constructed, new gardening boxes were added, a substantial shed was added, truckloads of soil, mushroom compost and wood chips were brought in and large beds for growing produce for the food bank were created.
A new Carleton Place men’s group, the Hackberry Men’s Shed agreed to design and build the garden shed and other structures that are part of the plan. Many thanks are to them and to Apple Hill Towing of Carleton Place who all volunteered their labour to make the shed, eavestrough and water barrel stands happen. And, who knew, several of the men are accomplished musicians – we are in for a treat as we welcome the ‘Hackberry Boys Unplugged’ to our garden party!
Other components of the project have included weekly meetings to mentor beginning gardeners and share expertise as well as an aggressive multi-faceted strategy to deter deer and other pests.
There remain a few available garden beds as well as several projects that we would like to add. Come on down on Saturday and see how you might get involved or contact the food bank at 613-257-8546 for more information.