July 6,2010 Tri City News
On a small garden plot outside the Westhill Youth Centre, young people are learning about gardening, nutrition and the life cycle of plants.
They’re growing herbs and vegetables for salads they will make at the Port Moody youth centre this summer in a pilot project supported by the city, the Youth Focus Committee and the development company Onni.
And for the most part, it’s a labour of love.
“You’re not doing it right,” Mitchell Kantrowiz tells Bradley Miller as his friend pours water from a bucket onto the newly planted soil, splattering mud and seeds.
“Guess what Mitchell, I don’t know where everything is planted,” Miller retorts.
Still, the garden seems to hold up and the boys are obviously proud of what they have built over the last while.
On a recent Friday, the young people were celebrating their accomplishment with a hot dog barbecue and they took time out from chomping down wieners to show off the various seeds and plants they sowed with the help of youth workers Brent Cote and Kyle Berdusco.
Cote said about 10 young people between the ages of 11 and 15 helped build the planter. After they cut and positioned railway ties donated by Onni, city workers dumped in some soil and then the kids planted tomato and pea seedlings they grew in paper cups as well as other seeds.
Youth Focus Committee chair Natalie Forster, 15, said the project was a great idea, which is why her committee asked PoMo council to get behind it.
“It’s all exciting, watching to see the little sprouts and, like, I’m proud they made this,” Forster said.
Cote said the garden idea came from the young people who come to the daily drop-in. They were learning about the importance of exercise, proper nutrition and started growing some plants, which quickly got too big for the cups they were planted in and so the garden idea took root.
“Part of our mandate here is to keep the kids active,” Cote said. “We felt we needed something else to do to keep the kids busy.”
Mitchell Kantrowiz, 12, and James Thomas, 12, agreed the project was mostly the kids’ idea and said they’ll take turns watering the plants with other young people.
As for the biggest challenge, it’s pretty obvious, Kantrowiz said: “Keeping the plants alive.”
• Westhill community centre is located at 203 Westhill Pl. in Port Moody. Summer hours are weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the centre is closed on weekends.