Who knew! The Mary Berglund Health Centre’s (MBHC) Community Garden has grown to include animals and redubbed McRotary’s Farm in honour of our club's support of its gardens and health project.
Begun ten years ago, on vacant land owned by The Municipality, The Public School Board and a private individual as a way to stimulate healthy eating the “garden” now includes twelve boxes for planting, a chicken coup, a rabbit hutch and a beehive plus a brood of ducks.
The driving force behind this transformation is Yvonne Romas, the Mary Berglund Community Health Centre Health Promoter. Yonne brought us an update on the garden. Volker Kramm, Executive Director at Regional Food Distribution Association, accompanied her.
Volunteer work and monetary and in-kind donations including a grant from the Club’s Charity Foundation have built the “Farm”. For example, Resolute Forest provided two flats of 2x6s for people to build their boxes.
The chickens began where children at the community school hatched and raised two chicks in as a learning experience and wanted to keep them alive. Romas happened to visit the school and discovered their dilemma and a farm was born.
McRotary Farm is now expanding into aquaponics with a tank where fish and the raft of ducks will fertilise the water to increase the yields in the garden. Local high school students are building the structures. In the future, a few goats are being considered. A local volunteer has agreed to overwinter the ducks at her place.
Kromm briefly described how the MBHC operates as the local food bank for Ignace. [Ignace is a small community of 1200 on the TransCanada Hwy about 250 kilometres East of Thunder Bay]
After the talk, Dryden Rotary and The Dryden Rotary Foundation made another donation to sustain the garden in 2019.