Gateway Gazette

Okotoks Community Garden Opens with Special Guidelines in Place

The Okotoks Community Garden officially opened May 1, for the 2020 season. The community garden is a source of food security, supports wellness, and promotes a sense of neighbourly connection. New guidelines and processes have been put in place to ensure proper safety and physical distancing are maintained during COVID-19. These new requirements will help ensure gardeners comply with all Alberta Health Services public health orders, while still having access to fresh produce.

“This is such an important opportunity for residents in Okotoks to get out and grow their own food while connecting with other gardeners,” said Sian Anderson, Community Wellness Specialist. “Gardening is an important contributing factor to the social, mental and physical health of those who like to garden during this short season.”

The Healthy Okotoks Coalition operates and coordinates the community gardens, through a volunteer garden coordinator. This year the garden coordinator is Jesse Lavoie, who said, “It’s something the gardeners look forward to every year and is a large part of their routine. We are so happy and fortunate we are able to continue to offer a space for people to grow their own food and continue those social connections, even in a time of physical distance.”

The new COVID-19 guidelines for community gardeners, put in place by Healthy Okotoks Coalition, the Community Garden Coordinator and the Town, include:

  • A garden access plan and online sign up process that limits numbers and ensures no more than 15 people are in the garden at any one time,
  • Eliminating access to shared garden tools,
  • A cleaning schedule for commonly touched surfaces,
  • Hand sanitization stations and procedures upon entering and exiting the garden, and
  • Provision of cleaning supplies for gardeners to assist in cleaning all common surfaces

The community garden has 56 plots. Additionally, the Okotoks Food Bank maintains a large garden plot, allowing them to provide fresh produce for their clients. All garden plots are full, and there is currently a waitlist.

More information on the Community Gardens can be found on the Town’s website at www.okotoks.ca/Gardening

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