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Recent wind storm claims greenhouse at Sackville’s Open Sky Co-operative

Volunteers gathered recently at Open Sky Co-operative to clean up the debris and rescue any remaining crops from the greenhouse that was destroyed in last weekend’s wind storm.
Volunteers gathered recently at Open Sky Co-operative to clean up the debris and rescue any remaining crops from the greenhouse that was destroyed in last weekend’s wind storm. - Contributed

Loss will greatly affect winter programs

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Sackville’s Open Sky Co-operative was dealt a huge blow last weekend when its greenhouse, and many of the crops inside, were destroyed.

Mother Nature was not merciful last Saturday night when it brought 100 kilometre winds to the region, lifting and tossing around Open Sky’s “rolling thunder” greenhouse, causing extensive damage.

Executive director Margaret Tusz-King said the solid footings of the greenhouse were likely loosened by several days of heavy rain which softened the soil, leading up to last weekend’s wind storm.

“As a result, we have an irreparable greenhouse, lost crops and a big clean-up job before the winter is upon us,” she said.

Tusz-King said the greenhouse, which had withstood six years of challenging Tantramar weather, was a valuable structure in Open Sky’s programming and its loss will greatly affect winter activities. The damaged gardens will need some extra attention in the spring.

Open Sky hopes to replace the greenhouse, which provides the organization with year-round gardening and salads.

“So we will look at finding better anchors to hold it fast,” she said. “We will also review our wind-breaks, to see if we could mitigate the wind better for future storms.”

The rolling thunder greenhouse is a versatile structure that gets its name because it can be moved along rails across the garden, taking up positions strategically to warm spring soil, incubate summer vegetables and then grow winter salad greens.

“Open Sky participants had been able to garden 12 months of the year, thanks to this greenhouse.”

Through activities such as farming, gardening, food preparation and community activities, Open Sky Co-operative provides support, educational programs and new opportunities for adults who experience barriers to independence or employment due to disability or mental health challenges.

Tusz-King reported insurance would cover much of the cost of replacement of the greenhouse, planned for spring 2019, and that just a few thousand dollars more would have to be raised to make that happen.

She said everyone at Open Sky is relieved no people or animals were hurt during the incident.

Open Sky Farm coordinator Emilie McBride expressed thanks to volunteers who came by last week to help dismantle and clear up the wreckage.

To assist with the greenhouse replacement, charitable donations can be made to Open Sky Co-operative by mail (12 Folkins Dr., Sackville, N.B., E4L 1H9), by e-transfer (info@openskyco-op.ca) or online through CanadaHelps or CHIMP. All financial donations will receive charitable tax receipts.

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