Gardening in the community

The City of Cornwall has two community eco gardens, one on Brookdale Ave. and one on Race St. With the relaxation of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the gardens are open for the season, with some new safety and social distancing measures in place.

The importance of community gardens

The gardens are managed by Centre De Santé Communautaire De L’Estrie (CSCE) in Cornwall. Ivan Labelle, Community Health Agent with CSCE explained the importance of these gardens to the community.

They may be an essential source of food for some but not necessarily for all,” Labelle said. “Anyone in our community can apply for a garden, we don’t ask about income any other personal questions. What a community garden does offer is an opportunity to access fresh produce, but also offer many other benefits: the fresh air, the sun, the physical labour feed the body and soul. The low-level concentration to weed or plant help refocus the mind and forget about others stressors for a while, which helps with mental health.”

Labelle explained that there are waiting lists for both gardens every year, but there is frequently turnover as people move in and out.

Some of the rules

One of the rules of the community gardens is that only annual plants are allowed to be grown.

“Typically beans, carrots, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce. The reason we don’t allow perennials is  that is some plants spread,” said Labelle.

Other rules include keeping workspaces clean and for users to but their tools back where they found them. Labelle said that a few new rules were being encouraged because of the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 has added challenges, so we encourage people this year to bring their own tools, wear personal protection, mask, gloves, disinfect surfaces, wash your hands before and after gardening, observe physical distancing, sign the registry, don’t come in if you have symptoms, only registered members are allowed. No visitors,” he said.

Text and photo from Nick Seebruch, Seaway News, May 22, 2020.
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