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Spring Gillard
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C.URB-side Growing

A few summers ago, on a visit to my hometown of Penticton, I met Eva Durance, author of Cultivating the Wild, Gardening with Native Plants of British Columbia’s Southern Interior and Eastern Washington (Nature Guides BC, 2009). Eva and her friend Kathryn McCourt were talking about creating a demonstration garden, similar to City Farmer, and they wanted to pick my brain. After that first meeting, just about every time I came to town to visit my family, I would meet with them at the same coffee shop at Cherry Lane mall and get an update on their project. It has been wonderful to see it evolve and come to fruition.

The Penticton Urban Agriculture Association is now a registered BC charity, and ready to accept donations! They have a home at the old Nanaimo Hall site at the corner of Ellis and Nanaimo. I’m pretty sure I attended a few rock concerts there back in the day. They call their new digs the Centre for Urban Agriculture or C.URB for short.

The new group built some raised beds during a series of work parties. The site will have demo veggie gardens, composting bins, xeriscape gardens, and a beautiful mural on the fence, thanks to local artist Sarah Fahey and a group of Pen High students. They also hope to erect a tool shed and a retrofitted steel storage box will house an indoor classroom, library and office space.

C.URBs first suite of courses begins in early April, including beginner organic gardening, composting and container gardening. And I love this idea – they’re hosting a tool swap on April 14th during their Seedy Saturday event (basically a seed swap).

In addition to teaching people how to garden, they are also reaching out to the farming community, helping new farmers either lease farm land or become backyard farmers, and connecting new gardeners with people who have land to be used – they call the program Sharing Land 4 Food.

There’s a lot more in the works, which you can read about on their web site. If you live in the area, do not curb your enthusiasm, get involved!

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