Sowing the seeds of community 

Foundation laid for Cheakamus garden project in Bayly Park

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As farmers across the province began their fall harvests, a small group of local volunteers were turning their minds to next year's growing season on a plot of Whistler paradise.

About half an acre of land at the new Bayly Park in the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood to be specific, and the go ahead to design a dream garden open to all.

The physical work began with 12 raised beds, each 20 feet by four feet. They built three more accessible beds for people who want to garden but have trouble bending down. They began a garden shed too and the framing is now complete.

It's the beginning of a community-wide project that could feed upwards of 100 homes.

"All of this has been an amazing amount of volunteer hours," said committee member Tess Evans.

And it was made possible in part with grant money, including a grant from the Environmental Legacy Fund from the Community Foundation of Whistler, which provided some of the seed money for the infrastructure to create the gardens.

The committee also hired a project manager Lori Pyne who has been coordinating the project.

Though it's located at Cheakamus Crossing, the community garden is open to all. It's meant to be accessible for all —for young people and the not so young and everyone else who's interested.

"We're really truly hoping to bring a lot of different people (together)," said Evans.

For the past seven years she has been growing veggies at the community greenhouses in Spruce Grove.

She calls it an amazing experience — planting the seeds, watching them grow, feeding her family with the fruits of her labour.

When asked what she plans to plant in her new outdoor plot, Evans paused to consider: "What am I going to experiment with next? I'm not exactly sure."

But there's an underlying excitement in her voice about all the possibilities.

To learn more about the project go to www.cheakamuscommunitygarden.com

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This is part of an on-going series of stories around a five-week campaign to encourage community members to volunteer or donate online to local charities through the Community Foundation of Whistler (CFOW). Pique will match donations up to $10,0000. Half of the Pique's donations will go to the CFOW's community fund. For more information on the campaign go to www.whistlerfoundation.com. The most recent Prior snowboard winner is Jan Svaty.

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