Bumper crop of veggies for local soup kitchen

More than 4,000 pounds of produce was raised in the Hope Garden this year to help feed people who need to eat at the Shepherds of Good Hope’s soup kitchen, or who receive food in its hamper program.

Volunteers celebrated the harvest with a garden party at the allotment garden in Alta Vista on Saturday.

“We grow staple vegetables basically, anything we can use in the soup kitchen, so nothing exotic,” said Ann MacDonald, manager of the volunteers.

Without volunteers, the garden wouldn't exist.

“It would be impossible. We absolutely couldn't do it,” MacDonald said.

Barbara Harris heads up the volunteer team, and co-ordinates planting, maintenance, weeding, and harvesting the produce.

“I love doing it. I love being out here 7:30 in the morning, hearing the birds. It feels so quiet and beautiful,” Harris said Saturday.

Her team's tireless efforts resulted in fresh, wholesome food for the clients at Shepherds of Good Hope.

“It's all organic, totally organic. We do crop rotation. We're using absolutely no pesticides or fertilizers, or anything like that,” Harris said.

“Everything for the garden is donated, including the irrigation system — a necessity during this year's drought,” she said.

“For the portions [of the garden] that couldn't be reached with the irrigation system, we actually have a team of volunteers that do the hand watering,” she said.

Joan Busche, who lives near the garden, has her own way of contributing.

“I support it by bringing my compost down. I live in a condo in Alta Vista, and I can't compost,” she said.

The return on her investment is more than just dropping off the compost.

“I have three things going on: I get a lovely walk, I get my composting done, and I get the pleasure of being around the garden,” Busche said.

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Shepherds of Good Hope