In 2019, we had the opportunity to buy the property behind our church – a property that was directly attached to the Church property and cut off our access to our back alley and should have been part of the original Church property. We were able to get a loan from Community Futures in return for using the property to benefit the community. We decided on a community garden.
In the Autumn of 2020, we now had the property and were ready to start planning the garden. Our new renter previously worked at the Cranbrook Community Gardens and grew up in a farming family, and a number of our parishioners are seasoned gardeners so our garden committee had some knowledgeable help. With the help of two Columbia Basin Trust Local Food Access and Recovery Grants in 2021 and 2022, we were able to remove the diseased trees from the property, install a retaining wall, deer fence, and a beautiful garden gate and mini tool shed. We built 16 cedar 3′ x6′ garden boxes (with much help from the talented grade 12 students at Kootenay Christian Academy), put in an irrigation system, and build a compost center.
We were also able to put up a greenhouse and equipment shed, allowing us to start seeds much earlier and boosting our harvests
The garden is now well established.
It is maintained and harvested by our parish and provides our Breakfast Program with fresh produce throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall. We donate the surplus to Operation Street Angel, Cranbrook Food Bank, and Cranbrook Food Recovery. In 2022, we donated almost 400 pounds of fresh produce, in 2023 we donated 623 lbs, and in 2024 we hope to increase our yield even more.