The Altona Community Action Network (A-CAN) has been recognized for its work in establishing the local community garden.
Recreation Manitoba has awarded the group its 2024 Nature award that highlights the passion and achievements of individuals, groups and organizations that steward recreational, natural, and green spaces that enhance community quality of life. 
"I think it's really exciting to see all of the hard work that's gone into this project be recognized," said A-CAN chairperson, Joanne Wiebe, adding it's great to see this valuable addition to the community be highlighted. 

"It's rewarding to see how an empty space has been transformed into something so beautiful and brings a lot to the community."

The original plan, she noted, was to just have a place for people to grow some vegetables, but it's turned into so much more. That includes the creation of the pavilion area. 

"For those who don't know, it has garden tools, an accessible shed, accessible (garden) beds, an accessible washroom and a beautiful mural by a local artist. So, I think it also has a place to bring community members together. I think we're planning to hold events there." The space also includes a natural playground for children. 

A-CAN recreation award

Wiebe credits task force leader, Jack Heppner, and his team for putting in countless hours over the years.

"He just had a vision for a place where we could bring the community, and he worked tirelessly to make that happen," she said. Meeting face-to-face with gardeners was really important to Heppner, added Wiebe. "Promoting sustainable practices, organic farming on those plots. It was also really important for him to have water available, so that was an amazing feature to have, so people can water their plots. All of the tools are available. He's really thought of all the little details and made it a great spot."

Wiebe thanks the Town of Altona for its ongoing partnership with A-CAN and this project, along with all of the other local partners and sponsors who helped make this happen.