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Community garden project combines learning, beautification


NEW GLASGOW – A garden being created at the New Glasgow Library will provide free, fresh produce for residents, along with learning opportunities.

“It’s a great new resource to add for us,” said branch manager Greg Hayward.

He said library programming has been evolving and becoming more activity-based, and the garden will help with this trend.

“For our summer reading program this is a different approach. It used to be all reading based – now it’s more activity-based. Learning about plants can be incorporated that way. This will be great to have on site.”

The garden project is a partnership between the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library and the New Glasgow Communities in Bloom committee. It will be comprised of several planter boxes placed in front and to the side of the library, along with a living wall near the back of the building.

Town schools are also participating, with students from A.G. Baillie Memorial and New Glasgow Academy doing the planting. The gardens will include such things as potatoes, carrots, beans, onions, tomatoes, herbs and greens.

A unique aspect is that the harvest will be shared with residents. “If someone walks along and sees lettuce, they’re allowed to pick it. The food is here to take,” said CIB co-chairperson Tabitha Coleman.

“We pitched the concept of a learning library to be used as an educational tool for the community,” said Coleman, who came up with the idea after seeing a similar garden at another library.

“From a library perspective, we thought it was a fantastic idea,” said Hayward. “As a library, we strive to be seen as a community hub, a place to promote development and learning, in various capacities beyond books.”

It’s hoped that people will take the vegetables home to cook, and that the project may even inspire some people to learn how to cook, to learn new ways to prepare fresh produce or to start their own garden using resources provided by the library. For example, people could take out a book with recipes or about how to make a container garden.

“If they really get interested, they can just walk in the door – we have all the resources there,” Hayward said.

“Being literate means being able to do all sorts of other activities. It opens up a whole new world. It’s more than just reading books.”

Because the garden is being established in an urban setting, the space available is limited, but Coleman said this is a good thing. “We want to show you don’t need a lot of space to have a garden – it’s a teaching tool. What makes this project unique and fun is that we have to be creative to use the space we have.”

The project accomplishes several goals of CIB – beautification, community engagement and using artistic talents.

After the garden is established, it’s hoped that community members will help weed and water the plants.

“We want people to take ownership of it – it’s not a library garden. It’s everyone’s garden, really, we’re just providing the space,” said Hayward.

If the project is successful, it’s hoped that it will expand to the other libraries in Pictou County. 

“It’s a great new resource to add for us,” said branch manager Greg Hayward.

He said library programming has been evolving and becoming more activity-based, and the garden will help with this trend.

“For our summer reading program this is a different approach. It used to be all reading based – now it’s more activity-based. Learning about plants can be incorporated that way. This will be great to have on site.”

The garden project is a partnership between the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library and the New Glasgow Communities in Bloom committee. It will be comprised of several planter boxes placed in front and to the side of the library, along with a living wall near the back of the building.

Town schools are also participating, with students from A.G. Baillie Memorial and New Glasgow Academy doing the planting. The gardens will include such things as potatoes, carrots, beans, onions, tomatoes, herbs and greens.

A unique aspect is that the harvest will be shared with residents. “If someone walks along and sees lettuce, they’re allowed to pick it. The food is here to take,” said CIB co-chairperson Tabitha Coleman.

“We pitched the concept of a learning library to be used as an educational tool for the community,” said Coleman, who came up with the idea after seeing a similar garden at another library.

“From a library perspective, we thought it was a fantastic idea,” said Hayward. “As a library, we strive to be seen as a community hub, a place to promote development and learning, in various capacities beyond books.”

It’s hoped that people will take the vegetables home to cook, and that the project may even inspire some people to learn how to cook, to learn new ways to prepare fresh produce or to start their own garden using resources provided by the library. For example, people could take out a book with recipes or about how to make a container garden.

“If they really get interested, they can just walk in the door – we have all the resources there,” Hayward said.

“Being literate means being able to do all sorts of other activities. It opens up a whole new world. It’s more than just reading books.”

Because the garden is being established in an urban setting, the space available is limited, but Coleman said this is a good thing. “We want to show you don’t need a lot of space to have a garden – it’s a teaching tool. What makes this project unique and fun is that we have to be creative to use the space we have.”

The project accomplishes several goals of CIB – beautification, community engagement and using artistic talents.

After the garden is established, it’s hoped that community members will help weed and water the plants.

“We want people to take ownership of it – it’s not a library garden. It’s everyone’s garden, really, we’re just providing the space,” said Hayward.

If the project is successful, it’s hoped that it will expand to the other libraries in Pictou County. 

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