The Barriere community Garden provides the community of Barriere and surrounding areas with a place to come together to learn from one another, grow their own vegetables and plants, gain horticultural skills and socialize. Parents, grandparents and even teachers are able to inspire their children, grandchildren and students while introducing them to the joys and value of gardening. Children have the opportunity to gain skills and an appreciation of food, plants and the earth, all while providing an invaluable, fun, bonding opportunity.
The Community Garden is in desperate need of a new sprinkler system. At the moment, the current watering system is extremely time-consuming and exhausting for the garden member volunteers, while also putting the whole project at risk.
Early in 2011, Liz Gilbertson, with the help of the District of Barriere, submitted an entry on behalf of the Barriere Community Garden to the Pepsi Refresh Canada Project voting contest for a $5,000 grant to aid in the installation of a new sprinkler system and for the construction of a shade structure within the garden. While the submission came within one position of winning the grant, unfortunately, it was not successful.
However, a common voting strategy within the contest was to align your project with other projects in other categories in a ‘you vote for us, we’ll vote for you’ type arrangement. Barriere made some strong alliances within the contest, with some of those equally deserving projects who actually won their grants!
Barriere must have made a positive impression on some of the participants in the Pepsi Refresh contest, as Tasha Buchanan of Town Hall was personally contacted by those individuals who wanted to send in monetary donations to the Garden. These donations came in from across Canada and totaled $1,200. The largest donation came from Dr. Trish Forrest, the contest coordinator and volunteer within the Alaskan Malamute Society in Ontario (a $10,000 Pepsi Grant winner) who personally campaigned for donations for Barriere’s community Garden. Other donations came in from supporters of Merritt’s Angel Animal Rescue Society (the $100,000 Pepsi Grant winner), Richmond Animal Protection Society (a $25,000 Pepsi Grant winner), and from a Parrot Sanctuary on Vancouver Island, who didn’t win any funding. The District of Barriere has also provided an in-kind donation of staff labour to design and install the system, as well as to contribute various materials required to complete construction.
Now that spring has finally sprung, the North Thompson Valley Garden club is making plans to complete this project by hosting a workbee on Sunday, April 29, to prepare for the installation of the new sprinkler system. Community Garden members will be hard at work, digging the trenches and removing old pipe on that day. Volunteers are always welcome and would be gratefully appreciated!
In addition to the substantial contributions for the previously noted Pepsi Refresh Contest participants, discounted rates for many materials are being provided by Delta Irrigation and further, Rodgers Rental has committed to renting the ditchwitch for a significantly reduced rate to help support the project.
Pepsi’s Refresh Project, while at the moment discontinued, was one that provided various individuals and non-profit organizations a chance to enrich their community in ways varying from community garden projects like Barriere’s, school arts program, medical support services and animal aid, to name a few. While only a handful of the 100 chosen projects submitted won funding, it goes to show you that generosity doesn’t stop at the corporate giant level such as Pepsi Canada, but extends from everyday people regardless of where they live, such as Dr. Forrest, Wendy, Cheryl, Helen, and Julie (many of whom had not even heard of Barriere before the contest), as well as the District of Barriere and all the individuals who voted even once for the Garden throughout the contest.
May we all remember to extend a hand out to organizations who better the livelihoods of individuals, whether it be two legged or four. If it has been a while since you have made a contribution, monetary or in volunteer time, to a charity or organization close to your heart, consider doing so – as paying it forward is never a waste of time. April hosts Canada’s National Volunteer Awareness Week, and you can contact our local North Thompson Volunteer and Information Centre at 250-672-0033 to find out ways you can help better Barriere. In addition, it should be mentioned that April is also Cancer Awareness Month, and local canvas volunteers are out in full force raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society.
*Article submitted by District of Barriere, on behalf of the North Thompson Valley Garden Club.