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Field of Greens lives on

The plan is to rebuild the garden at the Salvation Army's Cumberland Street location once construction of a new residence is completed. Until then it will be a piecemeal approach.
Field of Greens
Past president of Port Arthur Rotary and originator of the Field of Greens David Legge (from left), current president Warren Philp, Port Arthur Rotarian and Salvation Army Major Lori Mitchell and Past Port Arthur Rotary President David Silliman. (Supplied photo)

THUNDER BAY – The Field of Greens is on the move.

With construction slated to begin soon on the Salvation Army’s Journey to Life Centre, a fruit and vegetable garden located adjacent to the Cumberland Street homeless shelter was in jeopardy.

But it will live on, thanks to the co-operation of the Port Arthur Rotary Club, which is encouraging members of the public to help continue its legacy through earthboxes, gardening expertise, seeds, labour or services until a permanent garden can be rebuilt.

Earlier this year about 20 fruit-bearing trees were transplanted to Tapiola Park on the outskirts of the city.

“Given the general upswell and interest in community vegetable gardening in Thunder Bay and internationally, Port Arthur Rotary Club felt that it would be a good fit to partner with The Salvation Army Thunder Bay given the historic relationship with the organization,” said Port Arthur Rotary Club president Warren Philp, in a release issued on Thursday.

“There have been many benefits in the project. The vegetable garden has supplied a large percentage of fresh vegetables for the residents’ immediate use given there is a full service kitchen on site, not to mention, a food bank.”

The community garden was first begun in 2009, but was halted this year because of construction concerns.

The plan is to re-start it on site once construction is completed.

The fruit and vegetables harvested from the site have been used to supply the nightly soup van as well as feeding residents at the Salvation Army kitchen. The residents tended the gardens themselves.

"This project has provided an opportunity for our residents to contribute to their own care. They have an opportunity to exercise and have social times growing fresh produce while at the same time, helping to reduce operating costs. The Salvation Army is grateful to the Port Arthur Rotary Club for having made this possible," said Major Lori Mitchell, executive director of the Salvation Army Thunder Bay community and residential services.

“Going forward, we are looking forward to working with Port Arthur Rotary to establish a new community garden on the grounds of the new Journey To Life Centre scheduled to be completed in 2020.“

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Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith has been the editor of Thunder Bay Source for 17 years and has served a similar role with since 2009. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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