September 27, 2020

By JAKE DAVIDSON

Rare’s green thumb is helping the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank.

The first of six classes led by Amanda Newell of the Rare Charitable Research Reserve was held on March 21 to teach people how to grow their own food and to be more comfortable when doing so. Each class costs $5 or the series costs $25. The money from the class goes back to Rare where it is used to help fund other charitable projects.

The class is for beginner gardeners who have very little or no experience gardening but want to learn and possibly save some money or get some satisfaction that they grew their own food. The class was altered slightly to also act as a training course for the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank which partners with Rare on this project.

“Food bank volunteers can now volunteer at our new food bank garden to put in some of the hours they need,” said Newell. “They’ll actually be helping to grow and maintain the gardens where the produce goes to the food bank.”

Rare has a large community garden that is maintained by the volunteers including students from Conestoga College. Rare has been working with the recreation and leisure services program at the college to get volunteers for the summer.

“We’ve got to prepare the land, we’ve got to tend the garden and we’ll harvest in the fall and that food will go to the food bank,” said Allister Thorne of the Cambridge Self- Help Food Bank.

The class on March 21 covered where you might want to put your garden and some information on the tools you would use in a backyard garden. The instructor also talked about soil health and what you can do to make it healthier to improve your plants. The classes are for all ages.

“Last year we had a girl who was 10 years old and we’ve had people who were in their 70s,” said Newell.