Green Thumb Garden Society President Kathrine Puchala (left) and Vice President Marlene Bahry (right) at the Terrace Community Garden’s tomato greenhouse on May 26, 2020. (Ben Bogstie)

What happens to a community garden during a pandemic?

Green Thumb Garden Society has made some changes, hopes for more volunteers and members

The Terrace Community Garden is hoping to grow, even during a global pandemic.

“We want to spread the spirit of gardening around, and especially in this time of COVID I think one of the things we’ve all realized is that food security is really, really important,” said Kathrine Puchala, president of the Green Thumb Garden Society.

The garden is on Evergreen St, on a plot of land owned by the City of Terrace. It is operated by members of the society and by volunteers. Puchala said that the more volunteers are always needed. She said that especially during the COVID-19 crisis, volunteers and donations of time, materials and equipment have been very important.

Daybreak Farms and Skeena Sawmills provided chicken manure and sawdust to make fertilizer. Stardust Contracting donated a truck and driver to move the sawdust to the garden.

Physical distancing guidelines and other public health measures have forced the society and garden to make some changes and adapt to the new normal. Membership applications and renewals have been shifted online and the Green Thumb Garden Society now accepts E-Transfers.

Members of the society can have a personal plot, but are expected to help out with larger communal projects like the tomato greenhouse. Puchala said that the garden is a great place for beginners, or those living somewhere that a garden is not possible because there is so much collective experience between members and tools are available.

At the garden, members are reminded to physically distance and wash equipment and tools, and some have chosen to stay home. But one of the larger impacts of the pandemic is happening outside the garden.

“COVID has impacted other things like for example the farmers’ market where we do some of our fundraising, it has impacted our financial situation in that we can’t fundraise as much or as effectively as we did in years past,” said Puchala.

Last year the Green Thumb Garden Society fund-raised at events like a corn boil and burger and hot dog day.

READ MORE: Green Thumb Society permitted to sell surplus

The Green Thumb Garden Society is incorporated, so it is required to hold an annual general meeting.

This year, it was scheduled to be an in-person meeting on March 15, but was cancelled due to COVID-19. Now that B.C. is in the second phase of its reopening plan, the society is looking at ways to hold the meeting.

“We could have it here with physical distancing,” said Marlene Bahry, vice president of the Green Thumb Garden Society.

“The Societies Act has said that we can just write in a report of ‘AGM not held.’ They’ve been really very understanding and not pressuring us to have a group.”

The Green Thumb Garden Society was started in 2011, and obtained a licence to operate in 2012.


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