Community Stories:

Pincher Creek – Community Raised Garden Beds

Pincher Creek Wellness Committee came together through a pilot project under Alberta Prevents Cancer. 

Members come from various sectors of the community and work together to foster and grow a healthy community.  After going through an assessment of different sectors, analyzing the results, prioritizing and action planning, the group marched forward with a community raised garden bed project.

In the late spring of 2016, we started working on creating our community pop up gardens concept.  We were lucky enough to have a University Summer Student that was sponsored by McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association (McMan) to a summer student to lead this project and create 11 Community Raised Garden Beds throughout our community.  These beds utilized the square foot gardening concept. Donations of different sorts were provided from various community members and, businesses for supplies and time to build the beds, and, the volunteers from Children’s World Before and After School Program for “raising” the garden beds.  The summer student also helped recruit volunteers, giving us good connections and ideas for sustaining this project. The locations of the various garden beds are also being added as a “food walk” to the existing pathways map that Pincher Creek has.

Some of the initial results (long term objectives can’t be evaluated yet) of the pilot year were found amongst the daycare students:

  • became more aware of the importance of a healthy diet by learning about how to raise food and understanding the nutritional value of foods grown in the beds
  • Learned about community ownership/responsibility as they cared for gardens that were meant for others, not only themselves.
  • They also gained knowledge of how our food is grown. The raised gardens provide encouragement for nutrition.

One challenge we had was an issue of animals eating plants. We tried to address this with the purchase of a deer repellent (Liquid Fence) however we had a rainy season and it had to be reapplied after each rain.  One of our gardens seemed to not be touched by the deer.  This garden happened to have marigolds in it which most likely repelled the deer.  A fence is an option however it would affect the accessibility and esthetics of the gardens.

The wellness committee in strong partnership with the McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association will be continuing and growing this project for the 2017 growing year.  We already have requests for more sites wanting these gardens.

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