How MacLean Trail connects three generations of people
MacLean Trail Community Garden was bustling with life during their annual Garden Opening this month – gardeners, children and pets milled about enjoying the summer sun. As I took out my camera to capture the scene, I noticed an elderly woman furiously filling her pail with compost. Her name was Helen.
I walked over to assist her just as fellow gardeners sprang into action to help. It’s because I’m old – I’m so spoiled here,” Helen told me with a grin. “Actually, it’s because you’re so loveable!” They laughed as they spread compost on her soil.
At 85 years old, Helen is the oldest gardener at MacLean Trail. But age is just a number. “I’m a very keen gardener; I don’t intend to stop any time soon,” she says with a wink. “And there are raised beds here – that’s great for me!”
MacLean Trail has a history of bridging generations. In 2013 Coordinator Melanie Kerr called on LaSalle Secondary students to construct twelve garden beds. Lead by teacher Sean Conboy the students built raised beds to accommodate elderly gardeners.
Kerr is now thinking of ways to get children involved. She calls her latest project idea Read and Weed. “I want to partner with the local library and bring kids to MacLean Trail,” she says. “We could read to them, and teach them to garden.”
Having seen what Kerr has accomplished in just two years, I am confident that Read and Weed will be a huge success. I predict that, soon, MacLean Trail will host gardeners that range from ages 5-85. That is the power of community gardens: they can form bonds across generations to create a stronger, more cohesive community of people.
On municipal heritage property on Hwy 15 between the off leash dog park and the Pittsburgh Library, MacLean Trail Community Garden was established in 2013 and offers twelve 4’x16’ raised bed gardens. The garden enhances the use of the property as a centre for community gatherings, and provides significant community benefit including contributing to local food programs. Some garden beds are leased for exclusive use by individual members, while other beds are reserved for common and donation beds.
Number of allotments: 12
Location: MacLean Trail (by the Pittsburgh Library off Gore Road), Pittsburgh Township
Contact: Kerrm@sympatico.ca or 613-544-2285