Carla Reed, a volunteer liaison with the Intergenerational Garden, and Heather Jonatschick, garden coordinator for the Intergenerational Garden, examine some of the winter produce planted in the new beds for the Friends In Need Food Bank. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Additional growing beds for Maple Ridge Intergenerational Garden

Fresh Gardens and Growing Fund Grant

Those in need at the Friends In Need Food Bank will be eating healthier thanks to a grant allowing for additional growing beds to be added to the Intergenerational Garden.

Heather Treleaven, with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows-Katzie Seniors Network, along with the Friends In Need Food Bank applied to the Fresh Gardens and Growing Fund Grant through Food Banks Canada and was awarded $5,000 for the project in June.

Three new permanent beds and two vertical growing areas were added to the garden, with all food being donated to Friends.

Garden coordinator Heather Jonatschick said the Intergenerational Garden has taken part in the Grow A Row campaign the past two growing seasons.

“The Grow A Row campaign is trying to get local people inspired to grow a row in their own garden,” explained Jonatschick.

Already all of the school garden beds donate all of their produce through summer to the food bank.

“We just wanted to expand on that,” Jonatschick added.

“So when you come by our garden, at the front, where we are building our new beds, we have signs up saying, “Grow A Row for the Friends In Need Food Bank.”

The project is also going to include three to five clients of the food bank who are interested in learning how to grow their own produce.

The food bank is recruiting volunteers, while a member of the Intergenerational Garden will be teaching a recruits about gardening.

“We are hoping that we can work on the old premise of, ‘Teach someone to fish, they can eat forever. If you give them fish, they eat for a day,’” said Jonatschick.

“We just want to help educate and inspire on gardening and show people what is possible even on a limited budget.”

There will be a couple of community workshops on container growing to demonstrate that any outdoor space can be used for gardening, whether it be by a balcony or by a front door.

“You can grow fresh herbs, fresh lettuce and just make a big impact and a big difference for little to no money. Once you have a pot and soil, your cost of seeds is very minimal,” Jonatschick said.

“When you are eating a lot of processed or canned foods, fresh herbs can make all the difference,” she noted.

Fall plants have already been planted, including lettuce, kale, winter cabbage, winter cauliflower and broccoli.

One more vertical planter still has to be built at the garden, but once up, will be used to grow fresh greens for salads.

The project will be finished by the end of October.

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Winter produce already planted in the new beds at the Intergenerational Garden for the Friends In Need Food Bank. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

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