. Grow with the flow
Community collective to expand project

Glen Vienneau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( May 19/00) - Green thumb enthusiasts have been given a second lot from the city for this year's community gardening project.

By the end of the summer, the new lot, which is adjacent to the garden's current location on Woolgar Avenue and Kam Lake Road, will be turned into a vegetable haven by members of the Yellowknife Community Garden Collective.

"It gives them a chance to garden and grow their own fresh vegetables and it also gives them a chance to contribute to the community," said Tasha Stephenson, collective chairperson.

The community garden, which has existed for six years, allows those who do not have access to land for gardening an opportunity to grow their own produce, Stephenson said.

Although the city agreed to lease the second lot last year, plans were finalized during a meeting earlier this month, said Stephenson.

Acquiring the second lot will fill a major gap, Stephenson said, as by the

end of 1999 some 30 people were on the collective's waiting list.

The new lot will be similar to the existing lot, which allows about 50 gardeners to grow their produce. The lot contains about 25 plots, and each plot measures 10 feet by 18 feet.

Last fall, the new site was cleared by inmates at the Yellowknife Correctional Centre.

By the end of the summer, members plan to donate produce to organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Yellowknife Food Bank and the Alison McAteer House.

"The expanded garden will provide for more fresh food for those in need," said Mary Kosta, the collective's publicist.

Kosta said this year the collective also plans a joint venture with Weledeh Catholic school's Community Kitchen program.

It involves allowing students to plant root vegetables, which they've grown from seed, in the garden to be harvested and used in the school's cooking program.

This year the collective has received $15,434 from Environment Canada's Eco Action 2000 fund and $4,000 from the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation. The monies will be used for the purchase of soil, fencing and for equipment.

Kosta says there are still a few more plots available for a $30 annual fee. The collective is bound by three rules: gardeners must use organic gardening techniques, abide to the gardening collective bylaw and contribute to chores.

Those chores involve work such as turning the lot into a garden and assisting in its upkeep.