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Mercredi, 7 mai 2014

Sawyerville Community Garden gathers 100 garden lovers

by Rachel Garber

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At lunchtime, about 100 people packed the great hall in the Sawyerville Hotel - aged, middle aged, teens and young. They were smiling a lot and talking in French and English and in-between.

Janice Graham caressed the piano keys. Salads, cold cuts, cheeses and friends congregated on the buffet table. Chantal Bolduc ladled out vegetable soup. She's president of the new Sawyerville Community Garden.

Assorted kiosks surrounded the people. For example, heritage seeds. Cycling equipment. Goat cheeses. Eaton Corner Museum. Gardening books. Organic plants. And organic gardening tools - such as grelinettes. They're fork-like spades that work the soil without turning it over. That preserves the ecosystem of the soil.

It was Green Day - a feast for the mouths and minds of garden lovers - organized by the Sawyerville Community Garden on Saturday April 26. It was festive, but industrious, too.

Cookshire-Eaton Mayor Noel Landry welcomed everyone. Francine Lemay of the Ferme La Genereuse spoke about the "Life of WOWs" - when you step outside and your five senses are set alight by what's going on in nature. Richard O'Breham of Mycoflor in Stanstead spoke about growing mushrooms. Brian Creelman of Seeds for Life in Bishopton spoke about the intersection between organic gardening and heirloom seeds.

He also spoke about gardening - the raison d'être of the Green Day. "Gardening is more than just an extracurricular afterthought. It was once central to people's lives. And it can be again. It stitches communities together too. Because when you get involved in something, you tend to talk to each other more, and share material resources and experiences. So it's a perfect little catalyst for bringing communities together."

And bring the community together, Green Day did. Countless volunteers and donors chipped in to make it happen. Goat cheeses came from the artisanal farm Caitya du Caprice Caprin, near Sawyerville. Soup from the women of AFEAS. Bread from the bakery Les Miettes. Organic vegetables from the Sanders farm in Compton. Yogurt from the Ferme Groleau in Compton. Moût de pomme from IGA Cookshire. Cheese from the Syndicat du lait. And cold cuts from the Syndicat du porc.

Sawyerville Hotel was a partner, too, said Bolduc. Rent was very minimal, and the owners worked a full two days to help organize it.

"Really, everybody seems to appreciate what's happening, and I think we'll have really good vegetables this fall," she said.

Planning ahead for the new Sawyerville Community Garden also happened. In a corner, five men intently discussed timberframe construction, getting ready to build the gardening shed. Bolduc said the next step will be to design and structure the garden. "When the ground gets dry enough, we'll have two teams of horses plow the garden," she said, "and we'll invite people to come and gather stones."

"Everyone can have a connection with the Sawyerville Community Garden," she said. "It's not everybody who has to get down on their knees to pull weeds. It's really a community project where everybody can find their place."

For information, contact or 819-889-3196. 
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