Planting interest

Brandon Anstey
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Town of Gander hosts meeting on community

While the Town looks to grow fruits and vegetables in a community garden, it’s first looking to grow interest after a meeting at the Gander Community Centre on June 4.

SIGNING OFF – Jeff Keefe adds his name to the list of people interested in getting involved with a community garden project in Gander. While this is the year of planning, interest needs to grow to ensure success of the community grow effort.


There are 9 steps to laying down the foundations for a successful community garden; Bruce Barbour told a handful of interested residents —the first being building interest.

“Before, we were talking about garden beds, where it’s going to be and all that, but that’s not the first step,” said Barbour. “The first step is to get 9-12 people interested, and get individuals who are organized and contribute to the community. This is a framework that if you follow these steps it’s your biggest chance for success with a community garden. If you go first looking for a spot and you start putting your beds down without a structure or foundation, it’s not going to work. So, the first step is getting the people together, which we’re going to have to keep trying to do.”

The idea for starting a community garden in Gander came about as Town councillor Sarah McBreiarty was running for election, and it’s an idea that sparked the interest of residents at the meeting.

“Gardening is something I’ve been interested in for a long time,” said Jeff Keefe. “I garden at home in my backyard, but I’d like to have a bit more space, and that’s where I’m coming from.”

Harold Saunders is a veteran gardener who’s been involved with gardening since his childhood. “I grew potatoes when I was a kid in our potato garden,” said Saunders. “I grew vegetables at my house in Glovertown, had a green house, and I really enjoy it. My wife would say ‘what are you doing out there, you’ve been out there for two hours and you don’t have anything planted yet.”

A community garden in Gander would provide a recreational outlet for anyone willing to get their hands a little dirty, and it would be educational, he said.

“Another thing is, I grew up in Glovertown where it was very little for anybody to do. I think it would be great for the kids because some of them think food comes from a can.”

Barbour agreed with Saunders about the educational aspect of getting people involved with the community garden project.

“I think that is a huge point to hit on is the need to educate children on how to grow food and what good food is,” said Barbour.

Going on genuine interest, Brenda Power showed up to the meeting because she wants to build up the gardening skills she had worked on with a family member.

“I basically came because I’m interested in growing things,” said Power. “I’ve grown things at the cabin with my dad, but I’m not the expert. He tells me when I’ve got to add fertilizer and all that.”

That experience with growing is the reason she wants to get involved with the community garden. Learning along the way, and taking a few pages from the seasoned green thumbs who would use the garden is great a oppourtunity, she said.

“I would like to know that for myself. I’ve got two grandchildren now, and it would be great for them to see how things grow, for them to appreciate and know just what affects the growing. They need to learn how to cultivate, to see how much work goes into it, and they need to understand that there’s work involved but you get a great reward.”

A community garden would lend itself to the growing need for recreation which in turn will help to nurture the sense of community in Gander, said Power.

“It’s a great recreational activity. I just have a concept of a garden where different people from town are going, and I might know something about peas and you might know something about potatoes.”

While the project is in its infancy stages, and the Town looks to grow interest, another meeting has been scheduled for later this month. Interested parties should come up with an idea to pitch to Town council for a plan and an area for the community garden, said Barbour.

“So, the first year is basically planning,” he said. “It’s getting together, following the steps, and within your group deciding on a democratic way to go about it.”


Organizations: Town council

Geographic location: Gander, Glovertown

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Recent comments

  • John
    June 13, 2014 - 22:53

    This is a GREAT idea. I hope more communities get into this. This is also a great educational tool and should be supported by schools with students taking MANDATORY classes in theory while getting their hands dirty in the spring. To be an individual able to take care of oneself, students should be taught organic farming (not reliable on fertilizers), and money management (not dependant on banks). Both are sorely lacking from school curriculum and sets students up to be dependants. Another big plus is the antioxidants. Antioxidants are basically electron donors. As you can have an abundance of them after you harvest your crops, you can also get them in the meantime by getting your hands dirty, touching the Earth. With all the lightning strikes and movement between layers, the Earth has the largest source of free electrons available and all we have to do is touch it with our bare fee or bare hands. Earthing or grounding is very therapeutic. This is also great for society. People coming together helping each other create something is sooooo refreshing. I know this is just in the planning stages, but I'm very excited for the town of Gander starting this project and being role model for other Newfoundland and Labrador communities. WAY TO GO GANDER! YOU'VE GOT A FAN!