This year’s growing season has been a bountiful one for the Campus Roots Community Garden (CRCG) at the University of Lethbridge. Not only have the vegetables thrived, a dedicated group of volunteers took to their spades to expand the size of the garden.
With the wait list for garden spaces continually growing, CRCG association directors knew they’d eventually have to increase the size of the garden to meet the demand.
“I’ve met a lot of people who want to try growing their own produce but may not necessarily have the space to do it,” says Sandra Sitter, CRCG secretary. “The mission of our group is to offer a place for people to do just that. We also educate each other on sustainable organic production at the same time.”
The association applied for funding and succeeded in obtaining a Community Capital Projects Grant through the City of Lethbridge and a Community Initiatives Program Grant from the province. The association leased additional land from the U of L and the Students’ Union provided funding for a new shed, additional tools and garden supplies. A donation from U of L’s Dr. Jennifer Mather is allowing the association to buy fruit trees and bushes.
“It was snowing the day a small group of volunteers went out and put the posts in the ground to get the expansion started in the spring, and since then we’ve been working really hard. We’ve had incredible volunteers to help get everything ready in a short time so we could rent the plots to the gardeners this spring,” she says.
The expansion features raised beds. In addition, two wheelchair accessible beds and two beds for people with mobility challenges have been added.
A new garden shed, underground irrigation, soaker hoses, and topsoil have been added and the beds in the existing part of the garden will also be raised.
“It’s great to have space for future gardeners,” says Sitter.
The membership fee to CRCG is $5 per year and garden plots rent for 25 cents per square foot. Gardeners are asked to contribute to the maintenance of the CRCG by volunteering throughout the year. Members also receive a 10 per cent discount on edible plants and seeds at Dan's Greenhouse, Country Blooms Garden Centre and Green Haven Garden Centre.
The association will unveil its expanded garden at a grand opening celebration Saturday, Sept. 6 from 1:07 to 2:30 p.m. Refreshments will be available. The garden is located on Parkway Drive West.