Monday, September 17, 2012

Vacant Lot Garden

On Saturday I went for a nice, long walk. The sun was shining, it was warm - a perfect day for a stroll. When I got to the corner of 12th and Clark, I came upon something that hadn't been there before, a garden.

This is the Clark and 12th garden and is located at the south-east corner of 12th and Clark on a lot that has been vacant for many years. At one time, there was a grocery store there but it hasn't been there for a long time and there are presently no plans to redevelop the area. So an organization called Shifting Growth approached the landowner and there is now a three-year land agreement to run the area as a community garden. Once the terms of the agreement have been met then the garden beds will either be distributed through the community or relocated to other areas.

A registered, non-profit organization based out of East Vancouver, Shifting Growth uses raised mobile garden beds to transform private, vacant lots into temporary community gardens. Shifting Growth partners with numerous professional contractors and community-based organizations to transform these spaces into a viable source of fresh produce. Shifting Growth's strength lies in their ability to co-ordinate, organize and manage all required activities.

The Can You Dig It (CYDI) initiative that is dealing with problems such as social isolation through community gardening. CYDI brings people from the neighbourhood together to create inclusive food growing gardens. Part of the produce is then distributed to those who are economically challenged.  People with developmental difficulties, newcomers to Canada, people with diverse backgrounds and experiences come together to create these gardens and perhaps make friends along the way.

CYDI is hosted by posAbilities - a non-profit living service provider - in collaboration with MOSAIC - who serves immigrants and refugees in the lower mainland - and the Simon Fraser Society for Community Living  which serves communities of the Tri-Cities.

Other organizations involved here are the Community Studio which focuses on supporting and initiating grass roots projects that restore, rejuvenate and revive neighbourhoods. The studio brings together landscape architects, planners, architects and engineers. These professionals provide design and planning services for non-profit community-based projects. With the professional expertise supplied here, a vision shared with the community is realized.

BCSVP -BC Social Venture Partners -is also involved with this project.

This garden would not have been possible without the help of such groups as Harvest Power/Fraser Richmond Soil & Fiber who donated the soil. The woodchip you see was donated by Mainland Sawmills, Terminal Forest Products.

The garden was built in one day and with over 60 people there, other necessities  were needed.  Downtown Eastside Produce provided fresh fruit while Quest Outreach supplied the snacks and refreshments. Starbucks donated coffee and other snacks were given by Jessica Prasad, a realtor at Sutton West Coast Group. And the children were kept entertained with various activities supplied by 4 Cats Art Studio.

What a project! Please visit the link connected with Clark and 12th Garden to learn more about this worthwhile endeavour. I hope you find the beauty around you.

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