The Bridgewater Community Gardens Network (BCGN) is a program of the Town of Bridgewater that is overseen by the Parks Recreation & Culture Department and managed by a Core Team of community volunteers. The BCGN program was formalized in the spring of 2011 and has continued to grow by finding ways to integrate gardening into the community through events, learning sessions, and by partnering with community organizations. The BCGN projects can be seen throughout the community; Hodge Podge Community Garden, Incredible Edible Bridgewater, Edible Trees Bridgewater and The Bee's Needs Pollinator Garden. Click on the map above to see the locations of all our projects.
Hodge Podge Community Garden
Located in Aberdeen Green Park, at the corner of Aberdeen Road and Elm Street
Bridgewater's "Hodge Podge Community Garden" started in the spring of 2010 and by spring 2011 the garden was absorbed into the BCGN as its first project. It has been successful thanks to collaboration between the Town and a Core Team of enthusiastic community members, along with generous donations from local businesses and organizations. Hodge Podge Community Garden is a place for individual citizens, families or groups to have their own garden in a public space free of charge. It is a place to grow food and flowers, learn skills, meet new friends, exercise, get fresh air, and enjoy a natural space. The project provides healthy local food to community members, as well as an opportunity for community building. Town staff is working with the Core Team to ensure that the program continues and hopefully expands in the coming years.
There are 20 raised beds at the garden that are assigned to individuals, families and community groups on a first come first served basis. There is also a shed equipped with tools for everyone to use, cubbies to store items and water on site, including a rain collector system.
Gardeners can request a bed at any time throughout the year. Each year a list is maintained and the gardening beds are allocated on a first come first served basis. Every year there is an Opening Day held at the Hodge Podge Community Garden where all gardeners come to sign an application form and a liability agreement and, for a refundable deposit, get a key for the shed.
Hodge Podge Community Garden Values
The Hodge Podge Community Garden was featured in a series of videos by Lighthouse Media Group called "The Garden Path" (summer 2011), and "Community Garden in Bridgewater" (July 2010), courtesy of Lighthouse Media Group.
Incredible Edible Bridgewater
Located at various businesses, apartments, and community organizations around Bridgewater
The BCGN in 2012 launched an innovative new gardening campaign called Incredible Edible Bridgewater (IEB). The purpose of this project is to partner with community-based organizations and businesses that are interested in having a garden plot which their clients or staff can tend and access. Organizations that participate are branded with uniform signage, and form a broad-based public education effort around the value of local food.
The IEB project is having great success and has expanded over the years. There are currently 15 different Incredible Edible gardens around town. This brings Bridgewater one step closer to becoming more sustainable through the production of local food. As well, it generates more community involvement, helps educate and engage citizens and produces awareness of how easy it can be to grow your own food. You can walk around Bridgewater and see the beginnings of a sustainable community where we grow our own food, respect our resources, and connect as IEB Gardeners!! We look forward to adding more beds next year as we expand throughout the community.
Watch a short video on a new initiative of the Bridgewater Community Garden Network: the Incredible Edible Bridgewater Project. (July 2012, courtesy of Lighthouse Media Group
Edible Trees Bridgewater
The BCGN also launched an exciting new project in 2013 called Edible Trees Bridgewater (ETB). There are currently 58 fruit and nut trees planted in Town Parks that are accessible to the citizens of Bridgewater as well as to visitors to the town. The community is encouraged to make themselves familiar with these trees located at Shipyards Landing, Aberdeen Green, North King Street and Woodlands Parks, Town Hall and the Cemetery. The overall goal is to educate and create awareness of what fruits and nuts can be grown here and to broaden the community knowledge about the benefits of fruit and nut trees. In addition the trees will provide shade in Towns parks, absorb and deflect solar radiation, improve air quality, filter water that makes it way to the LaHave River, and create habitat for wildlife.
The Bee's Needs Pollinator Garden
Located in Aberdeen Green Park, on the corner of Aberdeen Road and LaHave Street
This pollinator garden was created in the spring of 2014 to provide ideal conditions for bees, butterflies, birds and insects and for riparian zone (the river's edge) remediation (healing). The creatures which will be attracted to this garden will contribute to the abundance of the neighbouring Hodge Podge Community Garden and the fruit and nut trees which are now growing in this landscape. The Pollinator garden will enhance a returning shrub layer within this zone and will assist in reversing the effects of soil compaction from mowers and reduce fossil fuel costs. The resulting softer layer of soil can absorb more water thus reducing storm run-off, overland flow and flood severity. The garden also releases more oxygen into the surrounding systems and provides greater carbon storage than the previously mowed area, giving us cleaner air to breathe.