BRAGG CREEK— The Bragg Creek outdoor skating rink will soon be home to the hamlet’s inaugural community garden, slated to open this June.
The volunteer-run outdoor facility will include 10 large and six small garden beds, which will be available to the public for their gardening needs this summer. The beds will include special access for senior residents and those with disabilities.
According to Christine Pollard, Bragg Creek Community Association’s program and events manager, the installation in the outdoor rink will be temporary this year, until a permanent location for the garden can be found for 2022. She added the Bragg Creek Community Association did not have a green space available that would be conducive to a community garden this summer, and the rink seemed like the best alternative.
“It’s primarily already fenced so we don’t have to worry about wildlife, there’s access to a water source already and power, so it just kind of made sense to have it [there],” she said.
Pollard added the motivation behind bringing a community garden to Bragg Creek is near and dear to her heart, as she has always wanted to have a garden close to home. She added she had heard the same sentiments from others in the hamlet as well.
“In the past, there’s always been lots of interest and it’s always been something that the community association [was] interested in starting,” she said. “It’s something that just came to fruition that has been percolating in the back of my mind for the past several years.”
A volunteer committee will run the garden. Pollard said anybody who rents a bed agrees that outside of caring for their own garden plot, they will also contribute a number of volunteer hours to keep the garden operating as a whole.
According to Pollard, Bragg Creek is already home to many avid gardeners. She said a community garden allows those residents to do their gardening in a more social setting, but also provides people who don’t have home gardens the opportunity to grow their own food.
A community garden is also a great learning opportunity, she added.
“Maybe somebody that always wanted to get into gardening, or because we can’t do a lot of things right now, it gives them an activity that they can do and an opportunity to learn a new skill,” she said.
According to Pollard, the garden fits well with the spirit of Bragg Creek and will provide residents an opportunity to be out in nature and interact with others safely during the pandemic. She said it’s also a great space for programs and workshops.
Some of the events and programs planned for this summer include a vermiculture workshop, physical activities such as yoga or tai chi and, restrictions permitting, a long-table dinner featuring harvest from the garden.
She added there will also be a “learning garden” and a “pollinator garden” managed by the volunteers, as well as an herb spiral available to any garden members to utilize and a couple of donation-specific beds for those experiencing food insecurities.
“There are so many studies on community gardens that talk about the holistic health benefit [to gardening], not only physically but mentally, it provides exercise [and] stimulation,” she said. “It creates community [and] people coming together.”
In order to raise funds for the community garden, the Bragg Creek Community Association recently launched a rain barrel sale, with 15 per cent of proceeds going directly to the community association.
According to Pollard, there is a need and value for rain barrels in maintaining the health of home gardens and the environment in Bragg Creek. Local residents can order a rain barrel in advance of the May 28 distribution date, and orders can be placed at rainbarrel.ca/braggcreek
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