Community gardens growing strong in Sault Ste. Marie

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has presented some challenges, community gardens around Sault Ste. Marie are continuing to flourish under the watchful eye of local gardeners and community agencies.

Tomatoes, sunflowers and various leafy greens are growing at what was the Forest Heights Community Garden. It's now called the Suzanne Hanna Memorial Community Garden in honour of her contributions to the local gardening community and beautification.

The aim of the community garden network is to foster a deeper appreciation of where food comes from.

"The idea is to increase access to fresh food and increase your opportunities for exercise, meet new people, learn new skills," said Molly McQuarrie, a director with the Sault Ste. Marie Horticultural Society.

"They learn so much and their appreciation of food changes quite rapidly. But they also get really excited when they start working here, or in any of the community gardens. They put in their plants and they see them grow, especially if they're new gardeners."

The City of Sault Ste. Marie works with the Algoma Community Garden Network to establish new gardens and support existing ones. The city's beautification coordinator said the gardens are an important part of beautification efforts.

"City beautification isn't just about flower gardens," said Richard Walker. "There's a couple of different categories (and) one is vegetable gardens."

There are six community gardens in total throughout Sault Ste. Marie. Those wishing to register to use one of the gardens can find contact information on the city's website.