Community garden in need of seeds for newcomers

Spring has sprung – and many Manitobans are looking to get back into the garden.

Fifteen years ago – Raymond Ngarboui got into gardening. He created Rainbow Community Garden with Knox United Church, inviting other newcomers to join him.

“I was missing the types of food that I used to eat back home,” Ngarboui said.

That idea grew, creating sites around Winnipeg and southern Manitoba. He says in 2022, 350 families, many with five or more members, starting their own gardens at the sites.

“Despite multiple space sites that we do have now, we ended up with 139 families on the waiting list.”

Ngarboui said the sites give newcomers a place to socialize, helps their children keep busy during the summer, and connects them to ingredients they might be missing from their home countries.

He expects it to be another busy year as families look to put food on their plates.

“Families have been trying. They say they don’t know how they can pay their rents and at the same time afford their foods.”

Along with the growing demand, he says many people need seeds, garden tools, and compost. Ngarboui is trying to find ways to put seeds in the hands of families who cannot afford them, saying he’s had difficulty getting donations.

“It’s difficult, the possibilities are there but no resources. It’s very unfortunate.”

He says some families have begun preparing their gardens.

Tyler Whitley, the owner of Red Valley Plant Market, has seen the popularity of gardening grow, and is ready for the season to start.

“It’s been a little bit dragging getting the buds and the blooms opening up, but it feels like the weather has taken a turn for the better now,” Whitley said inside his greenhouse.

He’s encouraging people to try growing their own food.

“Get your hands dirty. It’s lots of fun, get out there, get the mud under your fingernails and yeah – it’s so exciting to grow your own tomatoes.”

The Living Prairie Museum in Winnipeg says the planting season has begun.

“A lot of the herbs, your greens like lettuce spinach card, and those things you can plant this early,” museum coordinator Cameron Ruml said.

Berries native to Manitoba are at the top of Ruml’s recommendations for people looking to grow their own food from plants native to the province.

View original article here Source