Vale shows its green side – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – June 8, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

If Gina Jones’ garden grows as she hopes it will this summer, she could easily save hundreds of dollars on produce. The senior citizen planted tomato and cucumber plants Friday, offset with marigolds to keep bugs from eating their tender leaves, in her own raised bed in Vale’s community garden beside its Copper Cliff greenhouse.

Jones is most interested in how the radicchio seeds she planted will grow. Just that morning, she spent $4 at the grocery store to purchase a small ball of the bitter-tasting, purple leafy vegetable, also known as Italian chicory, that is an acquired taste for some.

“It hope it grows. I try,” said Jones. This is the second year Vale has offered the raised beds to Copper Cliff residents and the first year Jones, who lives a stone’s throw from the greenhouse, has joined in. “I love this place,” she said.

At age 90, Jones also loves the fact the beds, some of which are about three feet high, are easy to tend and don’t require her to bend over.

Lisa Lanteigne, Vale’s manager of the environment, soil and water, said the company started the community gardening program to engage the community and get residents thinking about “sustainably eating, eating locally.”

Among other benefits, that helps avoid transportation costs of food that is shipped hundreds and thousands of kilometres before it reaches consumers, she said.

Vale prepared eight tall raised beds and five shorter ones at the greenhouse location and another four in the Little Italy section of Copper Cliff, filling them with soil, weeding and tilling the earth, and stirring in a “secret” ingredient — a fish fertilizer called Meeker’s Magic Mix from Manitoulin Island.

Vale even offered a number of small tomato, pepper and cucumber plants, some marigolds, and a variety of seeds, although community gardeners are invited to plant whatever they wish.

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