Deltassist executive director Julie Chadwick, Deltassist president Brad Sherwin and Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon cutting the ribbon to the new “Paradise in the Parking Lot” community garden at Deltassist on Sept. 26, 2018. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Deltassist’s North Delta therapy gardens now a reality

The community gardens will enhance Deltassist’s food security and therapeutic horticulture programs

Deltassist’s “Paradise in the Parking Lot” is officially open to gardeners, following a ribbon cutting ceremony last week.

“It ticked all the boxes here,” Lorraine Yates, Deltassist’s manager of operations, said about the now-finished community garden. “We provide Delta food security. It’s going to provide fresh food. We provide counselling. We’re going to do horticultural therapy. We do volunteering. This is a wonderful volunteer opportunity.

“And as you can see, seniors can sit down,” she added, sitting on the wide, wooden ledge around the garden boxes. People standing in the parking lot for the ribbon cutting laughed.

The garden’s story started back in February of 2018, long before spades could be put into the ground. That was when Deltassist held its first Coldest Night of the Year walk, in an effort to raise money for food security and seniors’ programs in Delta.

RELATED: North Delta to host its first ever Coldest Night of the Year walk

The fundraiser actually raised more than $22,000, which meant there was enough money to start building on the idea of a community garden in the parking lot behind its North Delta office.

The project had been officially on the go since July, as volunteers and members of Tsawwassen’s Earthwise Society started to put the five-bed garden together.

It wasn’t easy building garden plots on concrete, Earthwise employee Andrew Grubb said, and there’s still more work to do. Earthwise still plans to build a compost for the gardens, and in the spring they will be helping plant the garden beds.

RELATED: Deltassist looking for volunteers to turn parking lot into paradise

Currently, the gardens are planted with strawberries, peppers, herbs and lilies, along with vegetables such as winter lettuce, winter kale, eggplants and squash.

Yates said Deltassist is hoping potential volunteers will start to contact Deltassist about maintaining the garden.

“I watered this thing today and it takes a lot of work to water all this,” she said.

The goal is to have someone come every day to take care of the garden.

One volunteer who had already spent time on the project was at the official opening Wednesday, Sept. 26. Ed Farolan had helped put the garden together during its construction phase.

“I wanted to help the community,” Farolan said after the ribbon cutting. “Lorraine asked for volunteers, and I liked gardening, so I came.”

There’s no time for rest when it comes gardening at Deltassist. Next year, the society is hoping to build a pergola over the picnic area in the parking lot, not too far away from the garden site.

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The nearly completed community garden, located in the parking lot behind Deltassist’s North Delta office. (Grace Kennedy photo)

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