Fruit Grower Leads Movement To Plant Hospital Garden In Bonners Ferry

Jun 10, 2019

Casimir Holeski (here speaking at a heritage orchard conference in Sandpoint) is leading a project to plant a garden at the hospital in Bonners Ferry.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Bonners Ferry residents began planting a community garden at their town’s hospital Saturday morning. One of the organizers says the project has multiple benefits.

Casimir Holeski is the creator of the Boundary County Orchard Restoration Project. He says, a few years ago, he was exploring a plot of land on the Boundary County Hospital grounds, part of an old homestead that has some apple trees. He says he approached hospital officials about cutting branches from one of the trees. Their talks progressed to a discussion about planting a garden on that plot. The idea, he says, is to grow food for the people who work and heal at the hospital

“I ascribe the idea of food as medicine and so for me to be able to grow really healthy, delicious food and to share it with residents in the hospital and the staff that’s working so hard to take care of them, it makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I’m doing something that’s worthwhile," Holeski said.

Community members worked for a couple of hours Saturday morning. Holeski hopes the garden will serve as a demonstration site to show new ways of growing food without using chemicals and complementing the apple trees on the lot.

“We’re going to go through this whole process of planting shrubs and herbs and flowers and things that are going to support these trees,” he said.

He says community members will able to participate in maintaining the garden throughout the growing season.