Our Organic Gardens: Bowmanville Ecology Garden
A Short History of the Bowmanville Ecology Garden (written by P. Clark, 2009)
Back in 1995 some members of the Durham Chapter of the Canadian Organic Growers group decided to start a community garden that would use only organic growing methods. Bowmanville was chosen as the town in which the garden would be situated.
Start up money was needed for such thing as an enclosure fence, a storage hut and tools so a $2,000 grant was sought from two local business offices. A high school agreed to donate some land and a water source was found. A beautiful carved wooden signg was erected with the words “Ecology Garden” on it. A whimsical little bird house sat atop the sign, reminding us that the garden is an oasis free of toxic chemicals and therefore welcoming to the life around and within it.
In the first two years of the garden, grants were acquired to hire a summer student to care for the pathways and demonstration plots. The demonstration plots grew whildflowers, vegetables and berries. The fresh produce was donated to a local shelter for women. Presently everything is run by volunteers and all of the garden area is distributed to members of the nearby community for their own individual use in return for a modest monetary donation. Grants from local business and the municipality help with some expenses such as fence repair and organic fertilizer.
Gardeners can return to use the same plot year after year as long as they are registered by January 30th. The garden is open year round (except when the gate freezes shut!). A yearly delivery of composted manure is shared by everyone to keep the soil fertile.
In this year of 2009, all of the garden plots are in use and there is a waiting list. This is also the third year of the Kids Learn-to-Garden Program, co-sponsored by the local YMCA Early Years. In 2005 the Municipality of Clarington awarded the Bowmanville Ecology Garden an Apple Blossom Awards Certificate of Appreciation for contributing to the beautification of the neighbourhood.
This wonderful community garden is definitely a success. It is filling the need for healthful recreation and learning, and gives the Canadian Organic Growers an opportunity to demonstrate that organic gardening is practical and fun.