Germaine Wilson is one of the volunteers who helped revitalize the community garden at Beaufort Park.

Germaine Wilson is one of the volunteers who helped revitalize the community garden at Beaufort Park.

Volunteers breathe new life into community garden

NANAIMO – The growing season is ending for the community garden at the Beaufort Park Commons.

Even though the growing season is ending, new life has been breathed onto the community garden at the Beaufort Park Commons.

The volunteers that originally initiated the greenspace had moved away and the garden was in a state of disrepair but volunteers, including Germaine Wilson, stepped forward to care for it after the city considered moving it elsewhere.

Wilson, said she and her husband are too old to be tending to a full yard but they are fond of fresh vegetables. She intially signed up as a contact person but just like the yield of the garden, her involvement, and that of the volunteers, began to grow.

While people of all ages are involved with the Beaufort garden, Wilson said it’s interesting that a number of people aged 65 years and up helped get the garden up to speed. As such, there were people with limited physical abilities but the heavy work was done as a team.

“Three fellows worked on the beds, one was a bit younger and a bit stronger, and so by sharing the work, they got it done,” Wilson said. “We moved tonnes of dirt a little bit at a time … I think the really good thing is that because we worked as such a team, everybody ended up with really fine gardens and those that had surplus shared it.”

She added that because the garden is in such good shape now, a number of new members have signed up, which is good considering the City was about to relocate it.

Kirsty MacDonald, City parks and open space planner, said under the city’s Volunteer and Parks program, initiatives like the Beaufort community garden, are supported. She said staff are happy with the renewed interest in the garden.

“There’s a resurgence of volunteers that are working the garden again and it’s done in an attempt to activate part of the park that was, I would say, underutilized and have some community focus in the underutilized part of the park,” MacDonald said.

The season is winding up at the community garden but Wilson is happy with the work she and other volunteers have put in this year.

“As you (grow) older, working in a garden is very therapeutic. We got a bit of work but not so much that it would cause us harm,” she said. “It wasn’t a big burden but enough to let us get our exercise.”