Deb Butler

Oyama to open new community garden plots near community centre

Twenty-one community garden plots to be available starting this year

Gardeners take note, there will be new soil to till this year in Oyama.

The Central Okanagan Community Gardens (COCG) and the Oyama Community Club (OCC) have signed an agreement to work together to bring a community garden to Oyama. The new community garden will be located on land that is owned by the Oyama Community Club and is located behind the club, near the ball fields. There will be 21 plots available that are eight-feet by 16-feet.

“We have land we are not using and the garden fits perfectly with our agricultural heritage,” said Deb Butler,  Oyama Community Club president. “2014 is the 100th anniversary for the Oyama Community Club which was originally the Kalamalka Agricultural Association. “The garden will not only provide families the opportunity to grow healthy food but will also help build community. We look forward to seeing more activity on our grounds.”

Butler added with a waiting list at the Winfield Community Garden, she thinks there will be plenty of demand for the new gardens. Plots will be available on a first come first serve basis with those who help to build the community garden given first priority.

“The main build will occur in April 2014 so that gardeners will get their plots by May 1st, early enough to have a wonderful growing season,” said Sandy James, Central Okanagan Community Garden project manager. “Gardeners wanting plots are encouraged to come to the build. Those that participate in the build are guaranteed a plot and choose before those that did not participate in the build. Gardeners who are unable to participate physically are encouraged to drop off their friends/family or food/beverages instead.”

Marj Dickie, the garden coordinator, says there was some skepticism when the idea was first brought forward but added there are many people in Oyama who don’t have access to a garden.

“Many people think that because Oyama is a community of single family dwellings, that everyone would have space in their yard,” she said. “However, when you consider the number of secondary suites, yards that are heavily shaded and properties that are too steep to use, we are confident that the garden plots will be well utilized.”

Dickie also said the community has been very supportive and have donated many things to help with the build.

“Support from the community has been amazing.  There has been a cash donation from the Lake Country Garden Club, lumber from Oyama Forest Products, offers of additional required materials from Lake Country Builders Mart, an offer to build the gate from Okanagan Timber Frame and the cooperation of the Oyama Community Club has been great,” said Dickie. “If anyone has garden tools or a wheelbarrow in good condition that they would like to donate, we would certainly appreciate it.”

The new community garden adds to the number of gardens available throughout the Central Okanagan for those who can’t garden at home.

“The COCG’s mission is to help neighborhoods and communities create sustainable green spaces for gardening, food production, gathering and education,” said Ruth Mellor, COCG President. “With this addition, we will have gardens throughout the Central Okanagan from Oyama in the North to West Kelowna in the south. The growth of community gardening in the Central Okanagan has been extraordinary.”

If you interested in renting a plot, more information or helping with the Oyama Community Garden, contact Marj Dickie at 250-548-3837 or email oyamacommunitygarden@gmail.com.