Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
After two years of sitting idle, Liverpool's Plant to Plate community garden is getting a new life.
A group of volunteers and nine students from the Queens Duke of Edinburgh program attended a garden cleanup May 22 to help rejuvenate the property, which is located on College Street alongside the Queens Daycare facility.
The idea for the garden emerged in 2011 and it was developed in cooperation with Acadia First Nation, Nova Scotia Public Health, schools, teachers, students and daycares.
"We basically tilled up the ground and planted a garden. It just grew from there," explained Heather Kelly, one of the founders of the garden. "We also had someone involved who was a good teacher and gardener, so we were able to set up sessions for teaching people about gardening. It turned into something real nice."
The first garden was planted in 2012 and over the following years the garden evolved, and students from the high school made several raised beds to cover the area.
Two years ago, the Region of Queens Municipality, which owned the daycare property, sold it to the Queens Daycare Association. The association had plans to expand and build a new facility for infant care. Not knowing the exact location of where the new building would be placed, the garden was shelved.
"It turns out the daycare association left the garden intact. I started thinking that we could get this community garden going again, so I made a couple of calls, including one to Scott Christian, chair of the daycare association, and he said go for it," recalled Kelly.
She then contacted others who were previously involved in the group and the revival has gone from there. Kelly also knew that students involved in the local Duke of Edinburgh program were desperate for volunteer hours, and without much going on because of COVID-19 there were few options for them.
The next step was to clean up the garden. She scheduled a volunteer work day for May 22 and a group of 16 people came out to help, including nine students from the Duke of Edinburgh program.
"It was horrible. Everything was so overgrown," said Kelly. "But by the end of the day you could see everything, and it was like a totally different place, and it looked lovely."
The students will continue to maintain the area, mowing and cleaning up when needed.
"The students really loved it and are really taking the project over," reported Kelly.
Of the 12 raised beds located there, different families had claimed eight, while the Plant to Plate volunteers claimed another. As of late last week, there were still three beds available for other families to take over.
Many of those involved in the garden were hopeful to begin planting this past weekend.
Much of the harvest from the community garden planter box will be donated to those in need around the community.
"We all share and help one another out. It is part of the community aspect of the project," said Kelly.