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Youth gardens expanding at old trailer park site

Youth gardens expanding at old trailer park site

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PHOTO: MAKING A DIFFERENCE RBC came up with a unique way to mark Canada’s 150th birthday: inspiring young Canadians to make a difference in their communities by giving them $150, no strings attached, and asking them to do something great with it. Reisha Vos accepted the challenge, and spent $150 on Main Street on gardening supplies for the youth centre’s garden project. “I think the garden is a great way to build some awareness about food and food issues, and these garden tools are something they will be able to use year after year,” she said. On hand for the unpacking of the tool collection were Soleil Vos, Hayden Campbell, Jayden Ferguson, Reisha, Kelyn Vos, AYI leader Rebecca MacLeish, Cael Anderson, and Liam Danard.

Atikokan Youth Initiatives, with support from the Town and several volunteers, has launched season two of its garden at the old trailer park point.

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“Ultimately, the goal is to make this a resource for everyone,” said AYI chair Eva Shields. “We’re always looking for ways to include others. And, you know, this is just a lovely spot for someone who wants to come down for a walk.”

Last year the youth centre tended one large plot, about seven metres by twenty metres (1,500 square feet), and produced a rich bounty of produce that was shared with the community and the food bank. The youth centre bought a pump, so watering direct from the river was fairly simple.

This year, the Town and Don King have pitched in add a second, similarly-sized plot. (And Eben Ankomah was on hand last week developing a third.) The AYI has grants to hire four students this summer, and they, along with teen centre users, will help maintain the garden.

The youth have also brought in some current, raspberry, and rhubarb plants, and planted some apple trees. Residents are welcome to help themselves to garden produce.

Tom Nash has done a good deal of work on the site, too, setting up a series of circular mini-plots each dedicated to a specific plant: milkweed (swamp and common varieties), horse radish, lupen, columbine, yellow loosestrife, prairie sage, sweet grass, mint, and cardinal flower. He has also erected a mason bee house. Dave Elder has contributed a couple of bird houses.

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