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Niagara Falls
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Free vegetables available at library, courtesy of Communities in Bloom

NOTLers have a new place to get fresh veggies – for free, or an optional donation.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library is branching out and, together with the town's Communities in Bloom committee, has opened a market stand – inside the library.

Fresh veggies from the community garden directly behind the library are available each Tuesday to Saturday.

The stand, just inside the front entrance, is brimming with beets, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, eggplant and fresh herbs. More vegetables will come in as they sprout in the garden.

Debbie Krause, the library’s community engagement co-ordinator, isn’t worried about supply.

“The way the garden looks it seems there will be lots,” she said. “I think we’re going to have more than enough as the weeks go by.”

The stand should operate until at least the end of September thanks to the inclusion of cold-hardy vegetables like carrots and potatoes, Communities in Bloom chair Vicky Downes said in an interview Wednesday.

The stand has been busy and Downes said she needs to refill it regularly to keep up with demand.

Not all the community garden produce is being reserved for the market stand, though.

“We also gave a bunch of food to Newark Neighbours,” Downes said.

Vegetables are donated every Tuesday and Thursday to the Newark Neighbours food bank. They are stored in a new fridge donated by the NOTL Legion Branch 124.

In about two weeks, the committee will be giving a large donation of vegetables to Niagara-on-the-Lake’s migrant workers.

Downes thanked the nine volunteers who have been tending to the garden and using their green thumbs to produce vegetables for the whole community.

While the food is free, residents can give back and thank Communities in Bloom for its generosity if they wish.

“You can leave a donation or not. There’s no requirement but there is a donation jar there,” Downes said.

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