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Punk Rock Produce garden program is growing

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

Limelight Advertising & Design's employee and gardening manager Craig Smith (left) and company owner Peter Gabany (right) stand in the midst of a local Punk Rock Produce Community and Demonstration Garden producing food for free for the Northumberland Fare Share food banks this year.
VALERIE MACDONALD/Northumberland Today

Limelight Advertising & Design's employee and gardening manager Craig Smith (left) and company owner Peter Gabany (right) stand in the midst of a local Punk Rock Produce Community and Demonstration Garden producing food for free for the Northumberland Fare Share food banks this year. VALERIE MACDONALD/Northumberland Today

PORT HOPE - 

The Punk Rock Produce Community and Demonstration Garden that sprang up on John Street in Port Hope last year is expanding – not only with other food-bank supporting gardens in the area, but around the world.

And the whole thing is volunteer-driven.

“This program is starting to grow, no pun intended,” Limelight Advertising & Design owner Peter Gabany said in an interview in his John Street, Port Hope office where, looking out the front window and across the street, the first such garden is already sending pounds of lettuce to Northumberland Fare Share Food Bank.

This is the second year that Gabany, wife Suzi, company employee and gardening manager, Craig Smith, and Tony Armstrong have, with the help of a growing number of volunteers and suppliers, produced food on the former weeded spot next to 17 John Street and supplied it directly and freely to the food bank in Port Hope.

The landowner has provided the space for free.

A second location, 118 Walton Street, has also been added this year and turned into a garden plot next to where Smith lives. His landlord donated the area so people can grow food and donate it to the food bank.

Producers are also getting interested in the program, says Gabany, and a Cobourg resident has established a plot at the foot of Tremaine Street at Lake Ontario, donating food from this newest venture.

The next expansion is, with the blessing of Port Hope council, turning a vacant piece of land south of the town hall into 2,000 square feet more of gardening space both on the ground – and in elevated planting pods, the pair explained.

Owned by the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, the agency is providing the space for free. It is part of the LLRW clean up underway and an elevated base will be constructed starting this fall.

But Punk Rock Produce is spreading even further afield as groups throughout the world pick up on the idea of self-help in this way through social media.

To encourage this, Limelight (with support from various suppliers) has created an information brochure to go into a box containing row markers, signs identifying the project, etc. that are being shipped internationally. These have gone out to places like Mexico, Germany and Ireland, Gabany said.

The only thing requested of those receiving these boxes is they donate some of what they grow to food bank, he added.

If you want to get involved as a volunteer in a garden or by providing supplies, contact Limelight or go to www.punkrockproduce.ca

vmacdonald@postmedia.com