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Teaching garden to close

A teaching garden in Penticton's downtown area will soon cease operations.

Members of the Penticton Urban Agriculture Association announced this week that the Centre for Urban Agriculture, C.URB, at Ellis and Nanaimo will only be around until June 30.

"This spring was time for renewal of the license to use with the city and despite PUAA submitting a full report on accomplishments, including an address to council on March 17, with over 20 citizens attending specifically in support of the effort, the license was renewed only until the end of 2014 with no reason given," said board member Merle Kindred.

The association plans to sell or donate all its gardening material and equipment by the end of its current license in June. The plot will then return to its barren condition as the city says it has no plans for the site, they say.

Mayor Garry Litke said this is their decision and he doesn't have a comment on the matter. A statement issued by the city said: the city offered the group a one year extension to their license to use the current space they have.

It was four and a half years ago that residents Eva Durance and Julius Bloomfield recognized a gap in the region's food security and began working with the city in securing land for a teaching garden under the oversight of the association. The land was leased for three years and became C.URB.

During that time it offered gardening courses and provided hundreds of pounds of vegetables for the local food bank and Soupateria.

After members of the group made their impassioned plea in March to keep the garden going, the council said it would give further consideration to the matter. But it has not been discussed at council meetings since.

Kindred further feels the decision comes at a time when other communities, locally and globally, are well underway in addressing food security.

"I feel the city has handled this very badly and are doing nothing for food security," she said. "To be suddenly told we need to leave and not given a reason is more than disappointing."

There will be a sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 10 at the site. Included in the sale is garden boxes and tools and free plants, soil and mulch.




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