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COVID-19: Giving Gardens provide ‘amazing support’ for vulnerable Calgarians

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WATCH: COVID-19 is especially tough on Calgarians who were in vulnerable positions before the pandemic. Now, as Gil Tucker shows us, many of them are now getting a nice boost from some new Giving Gardens. – Jul 8, 2021

COVID-19 has been especially tough on Calgarians who were in vulnerable positions before the pandemic.

Now, many of them are getting a nice boost from some new Giving Gardens.

The gardens are situated at Spruce Meadows, the world-renowned equestrian centre on the southwestern outskirts of Calgary.

Read more: COVID-19 pandemic has Calgary gardeners planting more veggies, ‘growing their own food’

With the usual summer slate of show jumping competitions cancelled during COVID-19, the facility is using some of its space to put in vegetable garden beds, many of them in old horse troughs.

“Horses consume a tremendous amount of water in a day, so as a result, we have a lot of troughs around the property,” Spruce Meadows senior vice-president Ian Allison said.

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“We didn’t have that many visitors this year on our international sports schedule, so we decided to recycle a few of them.”

Read more: The benefits of growing a garden during the COVID-19 crisis

Garden volunteers with the Calgary-based company ATCO are sending some of vegetables they’re growing to an agency that helps seniors to add to their quality of life during the pandemic.

“It’ll be an amazing support that they’ll have fresh food, because a lot of times it’s really expensive and they can’t afford to get fresh food,” the Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society’s Shannon Janewski said.

“And because of everything happening with COVID, it gives them one less thing to worry about. It takes stress off seniors.”

Read more: Pandemic project: Calgary gardeners set up seed library

The ATCO volunteers will also be donating veggies to veterans struggling with homelessness.

“Peer-to-peer support is very important for someone who’s been in the military,” the Homes for Heroes Foundation’s Cameron Diggon said.

“We couldn’t really get them together into a group during COVID and now we’re telling them that they’ve got a new family, a new family that cares, that respects their service, that has their back.

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Spruce Meadows hopes to continue planting the Giving Gardens in years to come.

“This is one of the benefits of innovation from the pandemic,” Allison said.

“These challenges for all of us also bring out a great sense of community and this is one of the areas that we felt that we could contribute, particularly during these times.”

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