As the Cowichan Green Community’s contract with Island Health finishes up this September, the garden volunteers are getting their paperwork organized to become their very own society. Several of the folks starting the society have been with the garden since the very first pathway was laid down over a year ago. Erin Ward, CGC staff member, has been helping coordinate the project since the very beginning as well. For Erin, the end of the contract coincides with the start of her maternity leave as for the last few months she has been growing a baby as well as gardens.
The last workshop on Horticultural Therapy, from Island Health’s phase 2 funding will be on September 9th. Lake Cowichan social workers, health care practitioners, a librarian and a recreation programmer have all signed up for a session led by Horticultural Therapist, Christine Pollard. The workshop aims to help link community programs to the garden and to demonstrate how the garden can be therapeutic and provide a place to improve our emotional, cognitive, mental and physical selves.
Christine Pollard also did a workshop on August 1st open to the public on Therapeutic Gardening and we had a lovely time under the shade of the pergola learning about how wonderful gardening activities are for our health and well being.
Other August activities in the garden included Erin teaching participants how to identify the plants in the garden and the volunteers hosting visitors who were part of CGC’s Edible Garden Tour on August 15th. Catherine completed her hand painted sign for the garden, the Play and Learn pre-school age program began to tend their garden box and excess produce from the shared gardens were donated to the Food Bank and Seniors Kitchen.
Furthermore, the garden volunteers have now chosen an irrigation system for the food forest and herb gardens that will have water pipes underground with taps placed in different zones. They are keen to hand water the gardens rather than use an automated system, but will have a few fruit trees with automated drip lines. Warmland Irrigation will be installing this system once the ground has been rained on and soft enough to dig in the lines.
There will be volunteer work parties to continue creating the beautiful shared garden spaces. In particular the garden needs 3-4 volunteers who can help run the compost system which would take about 2 hours a week. Contact Cara at 250-749-4296 to get connected with these and many more garden activities. The Cowichan Lake Community Garden Facebook page is also a great way to stay in the loop: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1483766288563310/
A Big Thanks to everyone who has contributed to building and caring for this amazing community garden. The experience of creating a shared place that makes healthy local food and brings community together has warmed the hearts of everyone involved. We have made a positive and hopeful mark on the land that welcomes people in to share the joys of gardening.
-Erin Ward, Cowichan Lake Community Garden Co-ordinator