Food Bank Vegetable Gardens

vegetablegardensSomething exciting is budding at the Lanark County Food Bank in Carleton Place. The newly branded ‘The Hunger Stop’ has built raised garden boxes in the front yard of their 5 Allan Street location. Another long row of boxes was constructed along the side of the building. All are filled with rich-looking black soil which is warming in the Spring sun in preparation for planting.

The side boxes will be planted with raspberry canes and the front boxes with a variety of vegetables, including radishes, lettuce, carrots, beets, peppers, and tomatoes. The 30″-high raised beds are easily accessible for weeding and harvesting.

A café table and chairs will invite people to sit and enjoy the garden. Signage will help educate food bank clients and the larger community about gardening and about the health – and taste! – benefits of eating fresh, locally-grown food. As a bonus, the planters and seating area will help to beautify our downtown.

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Karin Nakamura, manager of our food bank, describes the garden as a teaching and mentoring space for garden-related topics. There are plans to hold at least one workshop per week in the garden facilitated by volunteers from local horticultural societies, master gardeners, the Public Health Unit, and skilled cooks, among others. Participants in the workshops will be literally getting their hands dirty weeding, transplanting, and harvesting!

foodbank2The construction of the new garden coincides nicely with the launch of the 3 Annual Great rd Veggie Grow-Off. The municipalities of Carleton Place, Mississippi Mills, and Beckwith compete against each other to grow as much local produce as possible for the food bank. Lanark, Perth, and Smiths Falls are taking part in their own Grow-Off’s this year in support of their respective food banks.

Our local food bank opened in October 1988 and was the first food bank in Lanark County. Their mission is to provide safe and nutritional food assistance to those in need. Each client family receives 5-days’ worth of food once a month. The Hunger Stop garden will be an additional source of fresh produce for these neighbours.

The food bank receives no government funding – it functions solely through private donations. The operation is run by one paid part-time manager and approximately 35 volunteers.

David Hinks, food bank Board member and Master Gardener, would welcome coordinators to organize workshops and information sessions as well as someone to recruit volunteers for planting, weeding, and harvesting duties. The food bank is also looking for qualified people willing and able to give talks or workshops on gardening and good food. Please visit the website at LanarkCountyFoodBank.ca , Facebook at or call 613-257-8546 for more information.

The Hunger Stop just completed renovations to their location and is hosting an Open House on Sunday, May 1 from 12:30 to 4:00 pm. There will be a ribbon cutting with speeches, st refreshments, and music. Drop by to check out the improved space and the new garden boxes. Let’s show our support for this important community service!

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