Well, now that the dust has settled and we’ve had time to catch our breath, it’s time for a (very) long overdue Giving Garden post! We didn’t get the opportunity to thank everyone at the opening so here it is!
What started out as a very small garden with a modest budget generously granted to us by the Pictou County Community Health Boards, quickly grew into a massive undertaking when with the help of the Town of New Glasgow who assisted us with the application and donated the land, we received an additional $13,000 grant from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
Being that the funds given to us were part of the 150 Forward fund in honour of Canada’s 150th Birthday, we set ourselves a very ambitious deadline of Canada Day. That gave us just 4 weeks from the time we received the good news until the deadline to turn the space behind the Market building from drab to fab! We had our Community Garden committee made up of a few dedicated volunteers to get things going. We had a huge task…with very rocky ground!
Armed with funds, big dreams and lofty goals, we set out on our mission. Each week, a group of volunteers who are also vendors came out to get to work.
In addition to these volunteers, there are a number of contributors we would like to thank for their kindness and generosity for helping us to reach our goals and stay on budget.
Firstly, we would like to thanks our partners who we already mentioned above. To the Pictou County Community Health boards for their generous contribution who believed in our vision and started the ball rolling on this project with their investment. Secondly, to the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage who granted us the financing to make our end goal achievable in just one summer. And last, but not least, to the Town of New Glasgow for their in kind donations of land and resources and who submitted the application for funding to the Province on our behalf.
Next, we would like to make a couple of special mentions. Kenny Lim and his team from Murray Lim concrete poured the beautiful new concrete pad at the back of the building. Kenny took the time to listen, got the big picture and made sure we had the pad that would give us the most for our dollars. They made time for us in their busy summer schedule and kept us on ours. Due to their hard work, you will have an outdoor classroom and beautiful space to enjoy for years to come.
Charles Champagne, who saved the day with his machinery. Charles came out in his spare time (he’s also a farmer so there’s not much of that) and helped us move dirt and gravel. Without his help, there’s no way we would have made our deadline. We would have still been digging into the rock today if it weren’t for him!
Colin and Bob, aka the new Dynamic Duo. Colin and Bob put a significant amount of time into the garden. Colin designed the garden’s layout and built all the wooden structures as well as the three colorful picnic benches you can enjoy every Saturday. Bob and Colin were there every single day and put in some very long hours. In fact, Bob still waters the garden every morning until we can get a long term plan in place!
We purchased plants from West River Greenhouses. Farmer Bob spent time with us picking the right plants for the right locations and making sure we had what we needed.
Central (now Kent) Building Supplies who gave us a break on painting supplies for our patio furniture.
We’d also like to thank Nature’s Nook and Kranny, who after they heard one of our plants went missing, donated new shrub to replace it.
We kept our dollars as local as we could and shopped with many local businesses to keep the money in our community. The Adirondack Chairs came from Market vendor Paul Judge and were painted by volunteers. You will also find birdhouses from youth vendor Samuel Thompson of Samco Creations.
This year, we concentrated on getting plants in. There’s not a ton of variety but we have been able to give away what little we’ve harvested. We have some broccoli and cauliflower coming along and next year, things will get bigger and better!
It makes our hearts happy to see people enjoying the garden, not only during Market, but also during the week. A relaxing place to sit back and enjoy the view of the river to talk with friends or just for silent reflection. We still have a few finishing touches to go. We have a sign coming and a bench and some other odds and ends too.
After that, the next steps will be coming up with a long term plan for maintenance and distribution of any harvest we have. We will be looking for assistance from community groups for help with this in the coming months. Some of our fundraising efforts will help with maintenance of the garden. If you’d like to contribute you can always buy 50/50 tickets at the welcome table each week, attend our fundraising events etc…all of the proceeds from these things to to help the Market and initiatives like the garden.
We’d like to thank the following volunteer vendors who spent their time to help install the garden (hopefully we’ve remembered everyone):
Bob & Christine, Petite Riviere Winery
Colin & Adam, Knotty Acres
Niki, Sweetheart Farms
Megan, Marshdale Farms
Dionne, Art by Dionne
Nelson, MacD’s Bees
Sarah & Brian, Sunny Cove Honey
Conny, The Natural Edge
Melissa & Al, Handcrafted by Melissa
Janice, The Cupcake Lady
Rachael Robitaille & David