Building the Fernie community one garden plot at a time

Dawn Deydey and Ryland Nelson working hard to build a new plant bed for the EcoGarden - K. Dingman
Dawn Deydey and Ryland Nelson working hard to build a new plant bed for the EcoGarden
— image credit: K. Dingman

The warm weather has finally arrived and gardeners are eager to begin their spring clean up.

Last Wednesday, volunteers took to the dirt at the EcoGarden’s second official work party.

With house music pumping through a small speaker, volunteers worked to construct new plant beds for the small community garden.

As part of the gardens advisory committee, Dawn Deydey works to maintain and build on the garden.

But it’s not something she can do on her own.

“There’s continuous maintenance required for the garden and so there’s always work to be done,” she said.

The EcoGarden relies on material donations from programs such as the Wildsight Elk Valley Branch and the Selkirk Forest Industries. But it’s the community’s helping hands that build the garden plots. Deydey said earlier this month 24 volunteers from the Mountainside Community Church helped build seven new plant beds.

Last week, less than a handful of volunteers showed up to the work party, volunteers that the EcoGarden relies on.

In fact, the EcoGarden has been forced to turn people away because they simply don’t have enough beds.

“We really need people to come out to help build them,” Deydey said.

Despite the low turnout, there are still members of the community who never miss out on an opportunity to help with the garden.

Southern Rockies Program Manager Ryland Nelson said he volunteers at almost all the EcoGarden work parties.

Although he doesn’t have a plot or garden in Fernie, he said he still appreciates what the garden does for the community.

“It provides a place for people to grow their own food,” he said. “There’s lots of lower income people…. that might live in lower income housing or apartments and don’t have access to garden plants.”

And the chemical free, deer proof garden is a great way for all levels of gardeners to learn the craft.

“It’s really everyone from experienced gardeners to brand new gardeners, it’s a really great place to learn,” Deydey said. “It’s a place of community as well, it allows people to connect outdoors.”


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