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Growing more than just vegetables

Sarah Wilson is the summer events and education lead for the Sackville Community Garden this year. Her goal is to bring more awareness to the community garden space and to educate residents on a range of food-related topics.
Sarah Wilson is the summer events and education lead for the Sackville Community Garden this year. Her goal is to bring more awareness to the community garden space and to educate residents on a range of food-related topics. - Katie Tower

Sackville Community Garden helps build enjoyment around growing local food, learning new skills

SACKVILLE, N.B. —

Sarah Wilson hopes to create more of a buzz around the Sackville Community Garden this year.

Wilson, the summer events and education lead for the garden, said she’s excited to have the opportunity to engage with community members over the next few months and bring more awareness to the space and to the importance of food sustainability.

Individuals, groups and families can rent full or half raised bed garden plots for the season.
Individuals, groups and families can rent full or half raised bed garden plots for the season.

“Throughout the summer, I just want to try to bring more awareness to the garden and host more events there . . . and just get more people out there to use the space and to enjoy the space,” she said.

Located on Charles Street, the garden got its start in 2003 and has served as a treasured source of local and organic food and environmental education. Individuals, groups and families can rent full or half raised bed garden plots for the season.

Wilson said there are many reasons for people to opt into renting a plot, including for those who may not have the space or don’t want to put in that massive effort to till up their lawn for a garden.

“So it’s kind of like a nice smaller area that you can plant what you are going to really use,” she said, noting it also serves as a means to meet other local gardeners and share tips and advice.

The goal for the SCG has always been about providing a space that’s open for community members to garden or to learn about organic gardening.

Wilson said following a washout-of-a-flood a few years back that decimated many of the plots, the garden has been in somewhat of a rebuilding phase; but it is now back in top shape and running at full capacity. All 24 plots are in use this summer, which she said is exciting because it creates more activity at the garden – in turn generating a buzz she hopes she can build on.

Heading into her fourth year of a bachelor of science degree in nutrition and dietetics at Acadia University, the Sackville resident said she has an avid interest in learning about sustainable food systems and developing local food markets and how communities can come together around those issues.

She believes it’s important for everyone to learn where their food comes from and how it’s grown, and why it’s imperative to support local when they can.

Wilson said Sackville is fortunate to have a community garden but said many people in town aren’t aware of the public space and what goes on there. She plans to host a variety of events, programs and workshops both on- and off-site this summer to bring more attention to the garden’s existence.

“Sackville is a really small town and I feel like there’s just more potential to develop more of a community feel there,” she said.

From creating a plot for children’s gardening to bake oven training to lunchtime yoga to pickling or jam-making workshops, Wilson said she’d like to provide activities that help local residents develop hands-on skills they can use at home.

The community garden space features a permaculture food forest, an outdoor wood-fired bake oven, a berry patch, a storage/tool shed, a picnic space and an outdoor classroom.

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