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Nanoose community gardens looking for support

Nanoose Bay resident Deana Thomson and former resident Becky Pruden want to know if the community of Nanoose Bay would like to see a community garden constructed in Nanoose Place that would benefit locals, the food bank and the Nanoose Bay Childrens Place day care.  - CANDACE WU PHOTO
Nanoose Bay resident Deana Thomson and former resident Becky Pruden want to know if the community of Nanoose Bay would like to see a community garden constructed in Nanoose Place that would benefit locals, the food bank and the Nanoose Bay Childrens Place day care.
— image credit: CANDACE WU PHOTO

CANDACE WU

news@pqbnews.com

A rather barren-looking plot of land in the heart of Nanoose Place may soon flourish with fruit trees and strawberry bushes if Nanoose Bay resident Deana Thomson rallies enough support.

"I want to start a community garden," said Thomson, adding that it's a big project and she would need the support of fellow residents.

She explains that community gardens are plots of land which are rented to locals who tend to it themselves.

Currently, the empty space is owned by the Regional District of Nanaimo.

Last year, Becky Pruden had a similar idea and made headway on the project.

"There's a lot of potential," said Pruden.

"My original plan was to make a space available firstly for people who find deer an issue as they get into their personal property (community gardens would be protected by stucco fence), secondly to create sustainability in the area, thirdly to provide produce for the local food bank and finally for Childrens Place daycare centre next door to utilize the garden to grow food and educate kids."

Excited about the idea, Pruden began making phone calls last year.

The local garden club made a monetary donation, kick-starting the project.

With the initial donation, Pruden purchased cement building blocks, which became the foundation for the community garden, creating eight garden beds.

They have sat empty ever since.

Pruden, who was single handedly spearheading the construction, moved into Parksville and the project came to a screeching halt.

However, Thomson wants to revitalize the idea.

Thomson said she would ideally like to see the space gardened and maintained by a local committee, who would work to turn the vacant space into a full fledged garden complete with fruit trees, lettuce, rhubarb, raspberry and strawberry bushes.

"The idea is that people would rent out the plots to garden and the left over ones could be used to grow food for the food bank in Nanoose," said Thomson. "If it's viable, I'd like to see it completed, planted and maintained from year to year."

According to Thomson, the community garden project already has funds in place.

She is looking into grants from local organizations, some of which she said have already offered financial aid.

Pruden maintains her support of the project.

"I'd love to see it go on and help get it finished," she said.

The duo is now in the preliminary stages of gauging community support.

"If people want to build a community garden, I'd like to hear from them," said Thomson. "It is a big project and I cannot do it by myself."

If the community bands together to complete the project, a garden could be underway by this spring.

However, Thomson said that it will be very hard work and a big commitment.

If you are interested in building a community garden in Nanoose Bay, contact Deana Thomson by e-mail at deanat@shaw.ca or call 250-821-8944.

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