Brains and brawn will be combined to create a garden for children and seniors.
An intergenerational garden is being built on a municipally owned lot at the corner of Edge Street and 121st Avenue, and to start the project, on Friday three loads of gravel were dumped on it.
The garden was envisioned by the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows-Katzie Seniors Network, and with a $25,000 grant from the federal government's New Horizons for Seniors program, the lot will be transformed into a garden with 19 raised beds.
Senior volunteers and children from the two neighbouring schools, Eric Langton Elementary and St. Patrick's School, will garden together, with the seniors providing the knowledge and the children helping with the heavy lifting.
"It's the perfect [match] between brains and brawn," said Christian Cowley, executive director with the CEED Centre, which is involved in the new garden project.
The intergenerational garden project was initiated by the seniors network in collaboration with Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Services.
The school district is also involved in the project, and the steering committee for the garden also includes representatives from the CEED Centre and Golden Ears FEAST (Food Education Action Strategy Table).
There are 10 other school gardens within the school district, however, this is the only one that is not on school property and the only one that has a for-mal intergenerational component and a gardening coordinator, Sue Fleming, said Heather Treleaven, coordinator of the seniors planning table.
"The goal of the intergenerational garden is to bring seniors and students as garden friends," Treleaven said. "Seniors will share their knowledge and experience with the younger generations and we hope to grow more than just vegetables and flowers."
ven The main focus will be on growing vegetables for consumption by the students and volunteers, Treleaven said.
There could be some early crops like lettuce before the end of school, but in the fall, Fleming hopes that the garden will produce food for stir fries and soups.
"Our dream plan is to add a culinary component to the project encouraging students to cook what they have grown," Treleaven said. "We will be working with Golden Ears FEAST to try and make that a reality."
Currently, there are a dozen seniors who volunteer at Eric Langton Elementary as "Grand Buddies," and they could be part of the project.
The intergenerational garden will have a few allotment beds that will be rented out to community members, but the details are still being worked out.
The garden was approved by Maple Ridge council and the joint parks and leisure commission earlier this year.
The seniors network is one of 10 seniors planning tables in the Lower Mainland funded by the United Way.
The group's goal is to "bring the community together toward the common goal of improving the health and well-being of our seniors," Treleaven said.
To volunteer on the garden project, contact Sue Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604837-8915.