Rockland Garden spreading its roots with Phase 2

by Joseph Coppolino - EAP
Rockland Garden spreading its roots with Phase 2
A new green focused event, the Growing Green Fair, is bringing sustainability workshops and seminars to Clarence-Rockland. More than 50 vendors will take part in the event at L’Escale high school on Sunday, March 3, from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. (Photo : File)

With a successful first season under its belt, and a harvest well on its way, the Rockland Community Garden is kicking off phase two, adding more beds, accessible beds, trees and donating even more to the food bank.

With funds still available from their initial fundraising drive, and with the help of some potential grants, Sarah Lacombe, president of the Rockland Community Garden, said the team is excited to start on the second phase of the community garden.

Starting in the fall, on top of more beds being added to the garden, offering members larger growing spaces, Lacombe said the volunteers are looking to expand their donation program. So far, the section of the garden dedicated to growing vegetables for the Rockland Food Bank has yielded three medium-sized coolers worth of fresh produce for those in need.

“They say they never receive fresh food donations,” said Lacombe. “So they’ve been really happy to be able to offer that to their clients. And, obviously, there’s a big need for it right now with the cost of everything.”

Lacombe adds that the addition of fresh herbs to the food bank has been well received as well, as those with tight budgets are likely to spend money on those products.

The garden team hopes an expanded donation program will also be able to supply the Bourget food bank with fresh vegetable as well and are looking for seven local businesses, individuals or community groups to step up with funding, resources or time and sponsor a bed of vegetables.

“So that’s one thing that’s really important to us, because we see the need and we see that people are enjoying coming to volunteer,” said Lacombe.

Greater accessibility is another concern of the gardeners as they look to grow their offerings. Creating more accessible paths, a more accessible shed and raised garden beds that allow individuals in wheelchairs or scooters to tuck in underneath are another part of phase two but will require significant financial support.

“Unless we get additional funding, either through grants, the city or through the local community, it’s going to be hard to develop and add additional beds just because they’re so expensive,” said Lacombe. “They go for between $300 to $450.”

While government grants are available, they are also extremely competitive. Lacombe will be applying for a $10,000 grant but isn’t holding her breath.

“But it’s definitely our plan to do that in the spring,” said Lacombe. “And I know we didn’t have enough standing beds, so there is definitely a need for that too.”

Still time to help

Despite the cold weather creeping in, the garden group is still looking to get people out to volunteer. The team have workdays planned for September 30, October 1, 8, 14 and 15 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Volunteers are asked to bring a snack, lunch and water, and garden tools if they can. The garden only has a limited number of tools to be shared.

“Everyone is welcome to come help, and we would love to sign off volunteering hours for high school students looking to complete some volunteering hours with us,” said Lacombe.

Also on October 7, an expert from Tree Canada will be at the garden helping plant edible fruit trees and bushes including apples, pears, cherries and blueberries.

Lacombe said the garden group is also open to different and innovative ways to collaborate. Café Joyeux provided coffee grounds and donated a portion of sales from a mint-flavoured beverage, made with mint donated from the garden itself, back to the garden. Koaino Soap used lavender from the garden to create bath bombs, of which a portion of the sales went to garden as well.

More information about the garden and how to get involved can be found on the group’s website,

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