Garden coordinator Sue Ann Clement began working in the community garden in 2019. At that time, the garden was on a small plot measuring roughly one acre, but today the space has increased to 13 acres. Currently, one acre is used for food for the community.
Clement said, “I’d love to be able to keep the one acre for the community and the other 12 acres we developed, to start selling for CSA (Community Support Agriculture) baskets.” For this to happen, the garden staff require more equipment and machinery.
The garden is run by nine employees in total, and all the labour is done manually. “Everything we do is by hand. We pick by hand; we make the beds and rows by hand. When it comes to bugs – everything is by hand, we don’t spray any chemicals. Everything is all-natural,” Clement said.
The need for the community garden really escalated when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. There were few grocery and fresh food options for community members and travelling across the J. C. Van Horne Bridge came with challenges. Clement knew that this was the time for Listuguj to be self-sufficient and provide the community with locally grown vegetables. After its success during COVID-19, the garden staff continued to work hard and provide food for the community.
There is a wide variety of vegetables available in the garden. Various types of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions, lettuce, kale, and much more.
The garden staff works in critical weather conditions to ensure Listuguj has access to freshly harvested produce. Clement said, “The crew goes above and beyond. I did the planning and numbers, but it’s them who created the garden. They made it come to life.” The staff each bring something different to the table and offer different skills and techniques when it comes to the art of gardening.
The Listuguj Community Garden is run seasonally from May to October, and it is located on Bordeaux Road just past the Etlinpisulti’gw Healing Grounds. The staff’s hard work and hospitality do not go unnoticed, and the community thrives on their services.
By Ann Marie Jacques