© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Volunteers along with Mayor of Stratford David Dunphy stand in one of the 36 lots in the new Stratford Community Gardens, this is the first year for the gardens and all 36 lots are occupied. left is Lynn Alchorn, Kelly Arnold with the Stratford Watershed, Dunphy and Joanne Weir, assistant director of Recreation for the Town of Stratford.
The Town of Stratford has been growing in population over the last number of years.
Now something else is growing in the community.
A new community garden with 36 plots is part of council's vision for the kind of town they are looking to build.
CLICK HERE FOR GARDEN DETAILS
“We're trying to build the best community possible. We're trying to build a sustainable community in Stratford and this is all part of the equation,” said Town of Stratford Mayor David Dunphy.
Dunphy said the garden will offer residents without land to get out and plant a garden.
“You have apartments a hop, skip and a jump away. They get their families involved. The community has really embraced it.”
The newly formed community garden is completely organic. Located on the Bunbury Road in Stratford, it is complete with woodchip paths, a lunch area, hoses, wheel barrels and 36 planting lots, which are all occupied.
“It will contribute to less carbon emissions because wer'e not all getting vegetables from a million miles away. That means there’s less greenhouse gases going into the air," Dunphy said. "Basically being more self sufficient."
The garden was formed after more than 50 per cent of residents surveyed asked for a community garden.
Joanne Weir and Kelley Arnold then approached council with a plan.
“We jumped right on board and wanted to get this done,” said Dunphy.
Work started in May and ended in mid June.
“The area had to be cleared, and we had to set up a plan on how we wanted things to look, things needed to be purchased,” said Weir, assistant director of recreation.
Weir said they have over an acre of land where the garden is now.
“We are booked up solid, so we will be looking to expand it next year.”
Two of the 10 by 40-foot lots have been donated to the Upper Room food bank.
“It’s a great way to be able to give back to people less fortunate, and it will be all local food,” said Dunphy
Dunphy doesn’t have a garden of his own, so he was quick to help out with the plot for the food bank.
“I dropped down here one evening around five and by the time 6:30 rolled around it was completely planted. It makes you feel good about yourself.”
Chances daycare, Stratford summer camp, the Newcomers Association of P.E.I. and the Stratford Army Cadets all have plots in this year’s garden.
“Things like this is why people want to move here. We’re sustainable, very forward looking and environmentally friendly," said Dunphy.
The official opening for the community garden is on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome to visit.