Jessy’s Garden, a non-profit garden to feed the poor, has received enough donations to buy a potato digger that will enable it unearth enough potatoes to feed thousands of families.
Two years ago the garden, which is located about 21 kilometres east of Prince Albert, helped feed 500 families. It has been so successful that this year owners Bonny and Mel Sanderson hope to feed 4,000 families.
The Sandersons expect to dig up 10,000 pounds of potatoes -- about twice as much as what they produced last year.
That would have been very difficult using their old equipment.
“The potato digger goes right into the soil and pulls all the potatoes up,” Bonny said.
Regular ploughs weren’t doing that, because the soil was thick with clay.
The clay is so indomitable that it broke the Sanderson’s tractor last year and, when a farmer brought his own tractor, it broke his plough.
That meant they weren’t able to unearth all the potatoes they’d planted.
As of Monday, when Mel goes to Edmonton to get the $3,500 digger, the clay will have to relinquish its grasp on the potatoes. That’s a relief for Bonny.
“With the production we have to provide to the community (this year) we can’t afford to leave any in the ground,” she said.
The fundraiser for the potato digger took place last Sunday at the Prince Albert Union Centre last Sunday, where singer Audrey Neubuhr performed.
In previous years, the garden got very little in donations, but more people know about in it now, Bonny said.
The next item on the Jessy’s Garden shopping list is a new tractor.
The Sandersons were swindled into buying a beater from Japan in 2009.
“It had been used in the rice patties, but it was painted (to look new). We had no warranty,” Bonny said.
They purchased the tractor for $11,000. Repairs have cost them about $12,000.
The Sandersons are having another fundraiser Sept. 15 to raise money for a new $30,000 tractor. It will be larger than their current tractor, with more horsepower.
“With what we have to do in our gardens, it will be much more adequate,” Bonny said.
The fundraiser will feature local country musician Larry Krause and will take place at East Hill Hall. Chef Kevin Tetz will prepare food from Jessy’s Garden.
For more information, contact Bonny and Mel at 922-3103 or check out the Jessy’s Garden Facebook page.