Summer harvest

As rapidly as the town is expanding  with new and returning students filling the halls and coffee shops on these glorious end of summer days, so our garden is bursting with an abundance of produce. Zucchini and summer squashes triple in size overnight! Tomatoes are being delivered to meal hall, food bank and the womens shelter and the next day we could do it all over again as they ripen faster than we can pick them!

This year we have had some little critters take up residence in the garden. It would appear that voles also love our tomatoes and invited their extended families from abroad to come and stay  too! Still our pest problems are very manageable this year, the usual beetles and flies but nothing that needed  to be addressed with much more than a hand ‘removal’. The most exciting news is that we are so very close to finally having a water source after three years! This season we have had the arduous task of having to go down to the garden  to obtain the water jugs; wheelbarrow them up to the arena; fill them ( very heavy!) skillfully wheelbarrow them – without tipping over all the way back down to the garden and then fill the watering cans to hand water the entire farm. Needless to say our plot holders became quite discouraged and we saw plots abandoned.  Their frustration is understandable. Two 4 by 5 large water totes were purchased and filled with kindly water delivered by our local fire department. The day before the hurricane  Earl threat,  our totes were empty and we had to very quickly make another request for water just to secure them from potentially blowing across the soccer pitches. The fire department graciously ‘came to our rescue! thanks to our fire chief who we met in line at our local hardware store You have to love living in a community like this.

We have purchased 1200 feet of 1 ” diameter hose and on the hottest day of the summer no less unrolled it to be connected to a water source the university identified as no longer in use! Other than connectors we are almost ready to go. We have run into a bit of a snag with an unexpected crossing of a pedestrian trail that we hope to have resolved soon though.  We will then be able to use the hose to fill and store water in the totes.  Accessible water source is obviously integral to the success of the garden! So we are hopeful that we will have a renewed interest by community members again when they know they have an accessible source. Needless to say we will be especially grateful for this water source in the larger garden portion for food bank and meal hall!

Theft also continues to be a problem sadly. One of our plot holders was so very disappointed and saddened when she discovered that the night before she was going  to pick her cantaloupes she had lovingly nurtured for the whole season,  someone had helped themselves .The next day she was devastated to make the discovery. Many of us have lost produce this way and it is most discouraging. We are discussing various ideas  how we might address this problem.

On a much happier note we are very excited about the new farm management team that we formed mid-summer.  Our dedicated and ‘fearless leader’ Heather has left to pursue further studies and we are extremely grateful for her remarkable dedication and commitment to the ACF.  We had a send off potluck dinner at the garden prior to one of our mid-week work sessions. Our hats also go off to Dewey who also showed great commitment and hard work up until his departure for New Zealand also pursuing further studies at the end of spring. We wish them both much success.

Another exciting development is the discussion around curriculum integration with the University as well as some local school board initiatives. This is a natural partnership we anticipate will  benefit everyone. Stay tuned!!

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The Acadia Community Farm began in the spring of 2008 with the vision of providing local, organic produce to the dining hall at Acadia University, while also serving as a community garden. The Farm has grown to become an educational community centre for the exchange of knowledge surrounding gardening, food, and sustainable agriculture. Explore the site to find out more or stop by the Farm for a visit!


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