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community gardens are growing
Community Gardening is becoming more than just a hobby. Trying to understand it’s uptick in popularity can be confusing. On the one hand you have seniors who have always been gardening whether it was out of necessity or just for fun. Most of them were around during tough economic times and having a garden was a real necessity. Over consumption and mass purchasing was barely an idea when they were growing up. Now retired, seniors on average have a lot more free time on their hands and might be restricted financially so the idea of growing your own food would seem an obvious fit.
But that would only tell a part of the story. The generational jump in awareness seems to be finding a foothold on a younger audience as well. Non gardeners haven’t really been a part of the picture but there is a small group that is slowly embracing the dirt revolution. It would make sense to assume that COVID 19 has caused some to reflect on life choices and gardening seems to appeal to those with an introspective nature.
Food insecurity is certainly becoming a major issue as the world deals with a growing pandemic. In small towns, community gardens serve as social hubs and being involved in community clubs leads to an increase in volunteerism and fosters a sense of belonging during times when we might be feeling more isolated. Gardeners are fanatics. They will talk for hours about soil and water and climate and weather in general. In Schreiber the trend in gardening seems to be favouring the production of food.
Flower growing doesn’t appear to be as popular up here in the north at community gardens, and that makes sense in a way. When people plant flowers, it is usually an augmentation to ones property and a bit more personal than the vibe at a community garden.
With all the interest in gardening, Schreiber Media Centre held a zoom meeting primarily to follow up on the Garlic Growing short produced earlier in the fall. Members of Thunder Bay Master Gardeners were invited to take part. A recap of the show kicked off the discussion with Cathy Carlino of the Schreiber Seniors Centre and Donna Mikeluk from the Schreiber Public library explaining how the film came about. Donna went on to tell the history of Little Sprouts, Schreibers community garden project. From its inception over 10 years ago up until present the garden has literally grown in its success.
Lynda Bobinski and Gwen Third from the Thunder Bay branch of Master Gardeners in Thunder Bay led a discussion about the role of community gardens in urban centres, especially around the issues of education and wellbeing and funding for projects involving gardening and natural resources.
With more young people turning to gardening, or just wanting to understand where their food comes from, perhaps this new generation of gardeners will be more involved in community activities in the future. If the future is green, it just might start with gardening.
Schreiber Community Media is a non profit organization established with the aim of providing media production services and training for the residents of Schreiber and surrounding areas. Schreiber is located on the north shore of Lake Superior approximately two hours east of Thunder Bay.
The Schreiber Media Centre is locating in the Schreiber Public Library and includes tools for recording, live streaming and post production of audio and video.