Kris Murdock and Carol Dibble campaigned for and successfully started the Community Greenhouse in Bear River, which is a committee of The Bear River Board of Trade that we call the Bear River Community Greenhouse and Waterfront Gardens.
The greenhouse was created inside the former Bear River Sewage Treatment Plant, which had been decommissioned in 2012.
Dibble worked at the facility for many years. When the county stated it was thinking of tearing it down, Murdock knew exactly who she would work with to come up with a plan to save it.
“Carol was exactly who I needed, and once I told her my idea she was onboard,” said Murdock.
After a proposal for a greenhouse was submitted by a former Bear River resident who then moved, she and Dibble got to work forming their own plan.
They worked on a proposal and pitched it to Annapolis County Municipal Council in 2014, who voted unanimously to accept.
Murdock said this was even more motivation that the idea could be a success.
“A unanimous vote says a lot, so that made us even more excited to get the ball rolling on this,” said Murdock.
Council designated $11,000 to retrofit the building and get everything in working order.
All work to the building was sourced locally, in line with the greenhouse’s mission statement: a common goal, for common benefit, on common ground.
Certified organic soil, along with filler for the building’s floor, were sold to the greenhouse at very generous rates, a fact which didn’t go unnoticed.
Interest in the greenhouse was also immediate, with Bear River residents signing up for their own crates for planting.
“It’s amazed us how the community has come together to help us realize this vision and to support it now that it’s up and running,” said Dibble.
“It shows that our community really is on that common ground.”
Planting plots have also been designated for community use: one with produce going to anyone who cannot physically or financially access fresh produce and one designated for use by Bear River First Nations reserve residents.
“We want to show that our community is not divided and that people from away as well as original community members alike are using this,” said Murdock.
The greenhouse currently contains mostly fruits and vegetables, along with flowers grown specifically to keep bugs, like aphids, away.
The greenhouse’s current members are planning to create at least two more crates inside and also to increase planting space outside.
“There are certain things like these massive pumpkins that could easily grow outside,” said Dibble.
“All of this is part of bringing our waterfront back to what it used to be. It’s all for that common effort, and for bringing us all together in the process.”
For more information, visit the greenhouse’s Facebook page.