Gardeners young and old can show off their green thumbs after the community gardens were officially launched on Friday, May 23.
“It’s to provide a space for anyone in the community that wants to grow vegetables or just garden, whether they have no garden space at home or they want a little extra,” said Rob Spencer, a member of the Heartland Beautification Committee (HBC).
About 30 families have rented space for their vegetables.
There are a few spots left, so anyone wanting to try their hand at home grown vegetables can sign up at the Stettler Recreation Centre. If there are no spots left, residents can put their names on the list for next year.
One plot is exclusively for vegetables that will later be donated to the Stettler food bank throughout June, July, and August.
“It takes a public space that was kind of empty and boring and it makes it beautiful, and it adds purpose to it,” Spencer said. “It also raises the awareness of… just the therapy that comes from horticulture, and it just brings the community together.”
The HBC also uses the community gardens as a teaching tool, and students helped get the plots ready for planting.
“We work with the schools a lot to have them involved in some way,” Spencer said. “All of the prep work was done by a few volunteers and then a lot of kids. We probably had upwards of 200 kids through here in the last three days.”
A day after the launch, volunteers planted the food bank plot and cleaned out the shed, which Spencer said was “long overdue.”
Right now, the HBC is not planning on expanding the community gardens, but if here is enough interest, there may be more plots next year.
“The gardens repurpose a less useful place,” Spencer said. “Our other site is undevelopable but we’ve built it up so it can be used as a garden, and now there are a dozen families that can grow vegetables in it.”