Community gardening coming to Gilmour

·3 min read

A community garden is coming to Tudor and Cashel Township. In the township’s October newsletter, posted on their website, they asked residents to contact them if they were interested in tilling new ground with this endeavor. It would follow in the footsteps of successful community gardens in Bancroft and all across Ontario. According to organizer Mary Fox, the gardens are still in the planning phase, but she is hopeful that there will be enough interest in them to have a thriving community garden next spring.

Gardening on public lands or community gardening, dates back to early 19th century Britain, when the government allocated plots of land to the poor to grow flowers and vegetables. They have been a staple here in Canada for decades, providing fresh organic produce for the grower, their family and their community. While community gardens were closed down on March 31 by the Ontario government under COVID-19 restrictions, they were reopened less than a month later amid public outcry and declared an essential service. For some people, these gardens are a supplementary food source, others like the fact that they can get organic, healthier vegetables they can’t get in stores and for others it offers an emotional release from the stress that the pandemic has brought, improving their overall physical and mental health.

Aside from the impetus behind this community garden initiative in Tudor and Cashel, Fox and her husband have lived on Wadsworth Lake in Gilmour since 2002.

“We winter in Florida but we came back early because they were about to close down the border [because of COVID-19]. We had time to think about things for the community from this past spring onward, but we were very cautious due to the pandemic,” she says.

Fox says that right now they are seeking interest from the community to see if its viable. “If not, I was just going to build possibly two sections of garden as an example, so the community can see it and see if they’re more interested next spring and summer,” she says.

There is quite a bit of land behind the town office that Fox would be able to use for this project. It is fenced off but the public has perpetual access.

While she has other commitments that will keep her occupied until the week of Oct. 26, Fox says at that point she will be pursuing this more.

“I want to see the interest first, but then I can get in touch with local businesses to see if they would donate supplies or give us a discount. I’ll also be on the lookout for grants and things like that,” she says.

Fox says she has experience with applying for grants; she was the CEO of a breast cancer research and education organization in St. Catharines for several years, and she also procured $25,000 locally for minor football, to get jerseys and equipment.

Mayor Libby Clarke of Tudor and Cashel Township thinks the project is an excellent idea.

“We are excited about it. Mary came to council and we discussed it. We have such a big field out there [behind the town office] and the funding is there. I really hope the community gets into it and I think they will,” she says.

If anyone in Tudor and Cashel Township is interested in cultivating their interest in a community garden, they are asked to get in touch with the township at 613-474-2583, or by email at admin@tudorandcashel.com

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times