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Midway Community Garden gets $20,000 grant

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
March 20th, 2012

The Midway Community Garden will be just that much better after being awarded a $20,000 Age-friendly B.C. Grant.

The money will be used to expand the popular community location to include a food preparation area with electricity where residents will be able to learn how to preserve the food they’ve grown in their garden plot.

“Our thought was to get power into the garden so we can offer some cooking options,” said Dick Dunsdon, garden manager. “We need a more social area out there.”

One might be surprised a rural community like Midway has a popular community garden, but, as Dunsdon pointed out, if you can’t afford deer fencing then you can’t garden in your own backyard.

The garden, which is located on a half acre lot beside the original airplane hangers, features 24 raised beds, a drip-line irrigation system and tall fencing to protect the beds from munching deer. Midway residents of all ages participate in the garden, which adjoins a popular walking path along the river.

Last year, which was the first growing season at the garden, the 24 raised beds were all rented out. At a rental rate of $5 a year, it is a very affordable option for gardeners.

“It’s really turned into a community activity and we’re getting people out who wouldn’t normally get out into the community,” said Dunsdon, adding everyone from a local police officer to children growing giant pumpkins to the local food share and single seniors are involved.

The garden is self sustaining. To cover any operational expenses, like irrigation, the group sells vegetables from a dedicated market garden plot. Last year they grew 800 lbs (363 kgs) of garlic, potatoes and squash. They’ve also put in an asparagus bed and planted 25 haskap berry bushes.

“We keep our prices reasonable — we sold a lot of new potatoes at fifty cents a pound,” said Dunsdon.

Besides building a food preparation area, Dunsdon hopes to increase the schools’ involvement in the garden. They’ve also expanded with an additional half acre lot and finished the fencing of that last fall. They also built some higher garden beds for those who have trouble bending over.

The Age-friendly B.C. Grants were created in September 2011 to support local governments with projects that promote good health and community participation of seniors. Communities can also become an official Age-friendly B.C. community after completing four steps that focus on community engagement, commitment, assessment and action. For more information visit www.seniorsbc.ca/agefriendly/ .