The MJRWS received $45,000 from Co-op Community Spaces to create the Co-op Community Food Farm and Pollinator's Garden at Prince Arthur School in Moose Jaw! We are using the space to promote food security within the school and community. We will also promote biodiversity on the site by planting flowers and trees that will feed birds, bees and bats! This garden will be an interactive and educational space for us and the community.
See what the local news had to say about this project
- Watershed Group gets $45k to teach students about biodiversity
- MJ River Watershed Receives $45k Grant for Education Program
We broke ground April 7th, 2021 and the MJRWS have been hard at work ever since.
In May and June the 3-season greenhouse was built. This greenhouse is specially designed for cold climates. Compared to a traditional rectangular greenhouse, the geodesic design reduces total surface area by 40% and increases heat retention.
In total the Co-op Community Food Farm has 6 guilds; multiple rows of grapes, arctic kiwis, saskatoons, red osier dogwoods, raspberries; and a native plant spiral. A guild is a concept used in permaculture. Permaculture is an approach to land management that works with nature instead of against it. A guild is a "grouping [of] plants, trees, animals, insects, and other components that work together to help ensure their health and productivity". Essentially, permaculture strives to mimic nature and a guild is one tool in the toolbox. Each guild was designed to contain multiple vegetative layers that work together to maximize and diversify food production. All our guilds have a upper canopy, a shrub layer, a lower canopy, and a groundcover. The Co-op Food Farm guilds are designed around a specific fruit tree (e.g. cherry, apple, pear, etc). Shrubs (e.g. sand cherry, wolf willow, etc.), herbs (e.g. mint, sage, oregano, etc.), native plants (e.g. giant hyssop, swamp milkweed, pasture sage), blueberries, and strawberries fill in the empty space.
The MJRWS spent early June preparing the gardens for planting. This involved digging and shaping the guilds, installing all the irrigation, and placing and filling the garden boxes.
Students from Prince Arthur planted all the guilds during the week of June 14th.
The MJRWS built the Native Plant Spiral in August. The spiral is the centerpiece for the learning circle. All plants are either native to our exact area or at least to the prairies. Blanket Flower, Purple Prairie Clover, Goldenrod, and Bog Violet are just a few flowers that can be found.
During the rest of the summer of 2021 the MJRWS spent every week weeding, managing the watering schedule, and doing maintenance on the irrigation system.
Work picked up again in September and is ongoing. In September the MJRWS, along with a wonderful group of people from the Co-op Volunteer Day, placed landscape fabric and crusher dust on all the pathways. In total we covered approximately 4000ft2 (371.6m2) of pathways and used1000ft3 (113.3m3) of crusher dust. In other words we moved approximately 40 metric tons of crusher dust with wheelbarrows and shovels.
We are now in the process of moving more crusher dust and tamping. This process will be done before the end of October and hopefully before the snow comes.