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Town and SVCTC Gardening projects

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The time to get home gardens started is right around the corner, and opportunity is being provided for those that don’t have a garden, never had a garden and may want to give it a try this year. 
Through an initiative led by Swan Valley Communities that Care (SVCTC) and the Town of Swan River (TSR), funded by Healthy Together Now, there will be 225 gardening kits that will be provided for free for anyone who would like to start a vegetable garden.
Due to last year’s success, the number of kits provided has increased by 100 from last year’s supply.
“It was well received and we got a lot of good feedback from people that took part,” said SVCTC  Coordinator Lorri-Ann Munro. Each kit includes a reusable shopping bag, gardening gloves, seed potatoes, tomato plants, flower seeds and vegetable seeds, including carrots, lettuce, corn, cucumbers, beans, peas
and radishes.
“This provides a great starter kit for those that have never tried gardening before or only want to do a small garden,” said Munro. “And, it’s free. “Last year, we had a lot of people that were new to gardening and really enjoyed doing the activity with their children. Through (the COVID-19 pandemic), many activities are on hold and with gardening, it provides a relaxing, safe, outdoor activity that anyone can
take part it.” The date to pickup the kits is on May 3 from 3-5 p.m. at the Elbert Chartrand Friendship Centre. 
Registrations will be taken until all spots are gone. To register, call or text Lorri-Ann Munro at 204·734·8504, email swanvalleyctc@gmail.com or send a message to the Swan Valley Communities
that Care Facebook page.
In addition to providing the kits, the Town of Swan River Recreation Department has arranged for a few instructional videos that will be posted on their Facebook page and YouTube channel to assist anyone that perhaps has never gardened before and needs some guidance. The videos are also free and the  production of them is also funded by Healthy Together Now.
“The concept will be similar to the Safe at Home winter programming in that it will encourage community
members to participate virtually from the comfort of your home,” said TSR Recreation Programmer Lana Graham. “We are excited to have Brandy Eggie of Eggie’s Greenhouse give her expertise on gardening,
coming from 20 years of experience.” The videos will focus on a variety of areas including soil  preparation, composting, seeds, transplanting, container planting, what plants are compatible and will
grow well together, and much more. 
“We noticed that there was an expanded interest in gardening last year,” said Graham. “People were planting gardens in small and large raised bed, flowerpots and anything they could think of that would work. We want to support individuals in their gardening journey so they may have a successful harvest.
“With the gathering restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual programming can be planned  without the threat of being cancelled. We are hoping to launch the mini sessions around the third week
of May. Keep a watch over on our Facebook page.” Those that do not have a space of their own to garden have limited access to the Spruce Products Limited community gardening plots next to the Richardson
Recreation and Wellness Centre. Plots are available for a $30 deposit, refunded at the end of the season when the applicant has cleaned out their garden area.
Spaces are first come, first served, and can be reserved by contacting the Recreation Office at  bfedorchuk@townsr.ca or 204·734·4141. In addition, the TSR Recreation Department is partnering with  communities in Bloom to offer mentorship to community residents that would like to come out to participate in the planting of community gardens. The event usually takes place the first week of June.
Overall, the goal of the gardening program is to: 
• support individuals eager to garden;
• encourage healthy eating through the foods that people can produce themselves;
• promote mental health through finding a passion or hobby and being successful, learning, growing and sharing experiences with others in the community, and building relationships through a shared interest;
• provide kits to individuals in the community who have a new interest in gardening; 
and• provide a mentoring program by partnering with Communities in Bloom.

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Jeremy Bergen
REPORTER
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