By Jack Wilson
The Fédération des communautés culturelles de l’Estrie (FCCE), a local cultural community group, inaugurated a community garden in Belvédère park July 19. The garden has space for 19 gardeners and aims to encourage connections between immigrant and non-immigrant communities.
Plants were already poking out of the garden’s raised beds as community leaders and gardeners gathered to formally launch the project. Each gardening plot is three square metres, with two plots per wooden structure. In addition to nine two-person gardening beds, the garden includes a wheelchair-friendly spot. The FCCE conceived the model to “promote exchanges,” project coordinator Ioanna Villa said.
Funding comes from the City of Sherbrooke, which also provided the lot. Local Sherbrooke councillor Geneviève La Roche praised the garden. “There aren’t other gardens like this one in Sherbrooke,” she said.
Mariame Cissé said she was excited to be planting okra in her new spot. “We eat it a lot in Africa,” she said. Cissé, the FCCE’s deputy director, was born in Mali. “When I arrived here, I looked for okra. Even if it was expensive, I’d buy it.” Now, she said she expects to save money and share her harvests with fellow gardeners.