Invermere’s community greenhouse is a massive asset to the district and on Sunday (June 24), an open house centring around an urban farming fair theme will be hosted at the greenhouse by Groundswell to demonstrate exactly how valuable an asset it is.
“[The open house] is meant to be a gathering, or a social event,” Groundswell education co-ordinator Ally Candy said.
Invermere’s community greenhouse has been open since 2009, and has grown hundreds of pounds of tomatoes and other fresh greens for community consumption during that time. One of its most successful programs runs in conjunction with David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) where the greenhouse supplies greens and tomatoes to the student-run school cafeteria.
Candy estimates that she can supply all the school’s greens needs for up to three quarters of the school year, and is excited to grow the program even beyond that in the coming years. Students from the cafeteria also help out in the greenhouse, learning about how the food they prepare is grown.
“It’s really all about experiential education is here,” Candy said. “I get a universally positive response from people… students love being in here and they’re really open to learning.”
Candy said that the focus this summer will be on the heritage garden near Pynelogs and on preparing the greenhouse grounds for the next big project — a community garden. The fencing has already been placed, but throughout the summer volunteers will work to prepare the soil and build and prepare the various resources needed for the project.
“It’s going to be a gorgeous gathering place, and really, an urban farm,” Candy said.
The greenhouse has also received a fair amount of attention from outside the community, as Candy said over 40 different groups or organizations have toured the facility at one time or another, with more requests coming in all the time. In the future, Candy said she’d like to put an information package together for those who do visit to help cut down the amount of time it takes to do showings for each group.
The open house will follow an electric fencing workshop presented by the local Bear Aware program that will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. and Groundswell’s annual general meeting, which is set for 6 p.m.
The community greenhouse open house will feature presentations and demonstrations on irrigation, vermiculture, composting, gardening tips and more. There will also be coffee, tea and desserts for those who attend, and participants are encouraged to walk to the event, as a prize will be awarded to the person who walks the farthest distance.