'Sow a row and share a row': Essa residents urged to plant gardens to help food banks

·2 min read

Roses are red, tomatoes are too. This summer you can plant some vegetables and feed a family or two.

That’s the idea behind the Mayor and Council Share Your Garden Yield contest, kick-starting in Essa Township on April 12.

“This campaign is twofold,” said Essa Mayor Sandie Macdonald. “You would sow a row and share a row. Recipients of the share a row would be our two food banks.”

If all goes according to plans, the Thornton Community Food Bank and Angus Food Bank would reap the harvest local gardeners grow.

Essa residents can register April 12 to May 24 for the chance to win a prize basket.

At the end of the year, winners of the largest yield, as judged by the two food banks, will receive a trophy as well as a lawn sign acknowledging their green thumb. A second prize will be awarded for the most unusual vegetable, she said.

“It could be the largest cucumber or one that isn’t shaped like a cucumber or maybe has a face on it,” Macdonald said. She envisions the gardening project as a family adventure during a particularly sombre year of stay-at-home lockdowns due to the global pandemic.

A little farther north, Springwater Township council also made the decision to offer gardeners a delight by turning Bishop Park on Amelia Street into a vegetable patch.

Ward 1 Coun. George Cabral said Bishop Park was chosen over the second option of Robinson Park because it is near Heritage Park’s washrooms (closed during shutdown).

“It’s also closer to the condos up on Yonge Street North and the seniors there are interested in helping, so there is interest out there,” Cabral said.

Springwater is pulling approximately $5,650 from its COVID-19 Relief Fund to pay for the gardening pilot project but is expecting gardeners to pay a $10 administration fee.

Township staff will build the four-by-eight-foot plots, supply water and a compost bin, as well as periodic staff maintenance.

“When things (pandemic) settle down a bit, it will be a great way to socialize,” said Cabral.

Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance