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Church lands ready to sprout

It might seem wacky to start planning a garden during December’s frosty temperatures, but the St. Albert Christian Reformed Church is now working to convert a chunk of its land into a series of community garden plots.

It might seem wacky to start planning a garden during December’s frosty temperatures, but the St. Albert Christian Reformed Church is now working to convert a chunk of its land into a series of community garden plots.

Located on Gate Avenue directly across from the Village Transit Station, the church is not only looking to beautify an unused portion of land, but more importantly transform it into a thriving community resource.

“We as a church offer the land area so we can be more active in our community and show we have a place in our community, especially to those living around us in condos, apartments and townhouses. Our dream is to get community people involved, not just us,” says Johanna Buisman, a church elder and community garden organizer.

To that end, the church is inviting all green thumb members of the public interested in working a vegetable plot to a planning meeting on Thursday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. “There’s no commitment to join our church. It’s a commitment to join a community garden and grow what you like.”

With the City of St. Albert’s input, the church is reviving the unused southwest corner of their property into four-foot by four-foot box-style plots. At a minimum, 10 plots are planned for 2011. “They’re meant more for people around our church who don’t have property and would like to garden.”

Church members have tried posting flyers in foyers of surrounding apartment complexes but have had little luck. “It’s hard to get through to management. Now we’re hoping people interested in gardening will hear of it by word of mouth.”

While the city is measuring the plots and pointing out avenues of funding, interested gardeners would be required to take on some responsibilities. “We’re looking at grants and we’re hoping to approach different gardening centres to see if they can help the community garden.

“At the meeting we’ll discuss ways to cut costs and it could be that we have to put money down. Part of the meeting will be to set down guidelines — who gets the plots and who manages them.”

One interested party is already excited about walking over next summer and pulling out freshly picked lettuce for her supper. “It might seem like the wrong season and people may not be thinking about it, but we have to do some work up front before May and June.”

For more information contact Buisman at [email protected] or call 780-458-8127.