Vancouver residents have a unique, limited-time opportunity to tell the city where they want community gardens to be built.
Vancouverites have until Oct. 31 to submit applications to the city to be considered for a community garden to be built in their own neighbourhoods.
If the applications are approved by city council, the city will provide resources and financial support to build the gardens.
Accepting garden proposals is part of Vancouver’s greenest city action plan to increase food assets by 50 per cent by 2020 said Coun. Andrea Reimer, which means doubling the current 3,700 plots already in the city.
While carving out potential garden space and using the area to build urban farms might increase local food productivity, the point of the gardens is also to create communities, said Reimer.
“Young people, old people, people from different ethnic backgrounds. Everyone comes together,” she said.
Inexperienced gardeners produce a community building byproduct
Mario Moniz de Sa, assistant chair for biology and Langara Community Garden Society member said individuals buying into Langara’s community garden plots rarely know how to garden and end up planting more food than they can eat at harvest time.
But he said when people share food they make connections and build a stronger community.
“I remember when I was a kid [in Azores] and people didn’t starve because neighbours were resilient,” said Moniz de Sa. “When you were starving you went to your neighbours. In Canada we don’t do that. We go to agencies, we go to food banks. The thought of walking next door and asking for some sugar is very foreign in North America but in other places of the world that is exactly who you would go to.”
South Vancouver might see its own community garden
“[The city] will be prioritizing areas that are garden deficient,” said Reimer. “So south Vancouver is an area we will be looking at.”
Vancouver will provide the land, water, soil, compost and capital cost required to start up gardens some of the suggested locations.
South Vancouver currently has four community gardens.
Reported by Michelle Gamage
In this podcast, Moniz de Sa gives insight into how community gardens can come about in Vancouver: