Every garden has a story. Every gardener as well.
Those stories are our inspiration, our source of energy. They are evolving with the seasons, growing with the connections and flourishing with people's love and creativitiy. Let us share some of these stories with you.
Please, contact us if you want to tell YOUR story.
Ladybug Community Garden
Nestled around the corner from a major transportation hub at Commercial and Broadway, there is an oasis where commuters can find a welcoming and vibrant space to enjoy their lunch. Ladybug Art Garden was built in 2010 and has matured into a beautiful example of how Vancouver Foundation’s Neighbourhood Small Grants program can be used to support inspired gardeners to transform a community garden into a friendly interactive space for all.
Surrounded by a living fence – raspberries, sweet peas, beans and peas (that neighbours are welcomed to harvest) – there are many inspiring elements to the garden! Bee boxes, fruit trees, collaborative pumpkin patch, herb garden, native garden, pollinator garden. Each plot is individually painted and accentuated with garden quotes. The three tiered compost system is managed by a team of 3-4 individuals ensuring annual access to ‘black gold’ for everyone, and the gardeners are experimenting with weighing their produce in order to track the amount of food they are growing. Magpie’s Nest and Alternative Creations Studio recently installed a community built living sculpture and Ladybug Garden is home to a small community library built by UpRoot.
Ladybug Garden has a strong leadership at it’s helm who takes on the administrative tasks and organizes all things site and maintenance related. With the help of these leaders and a well-used group email list, gardeners feel motivated to self-organize, which is what small scale collective projects are all about!
Goodlad Community Garden
The story of Goodlad garden goes hand in hand with the story of Can You Dig It. Back in 2009 an innovative team at posAbilities asked the question: How do we use what resources we have to create welcoming spaces where communities can grow with the foundation of diversity and inclusion? Realizing there was a need for addressing food security with community gardens - and that there were many residences with backyards perfect for just that - Can You Dig It was born!
Built in 2011 with just six plots, the Goodlad garden is a fantastic example of how persevering intention and community collaboration are the key ingredients in designing and building welcoming gardens. The following year Goodlad was gifted a community greenhouse and six more beds were built by BACI’s social enterprise BC Woodworks and installed by Don’t Sweat It Services. The residents are very fortunate to have staff who love to garden and so they eat fresh organic produce harvested steps from where they live all year long. And neighbours who stop by to water or tend to their plot just may be lucky enough to be serenaded as one of people living there enjoys singing pop songs out his window!
In 2014 Jim and Lindy from Edmonds People In Community, took over the co-ordination and with them came two new garden beds and a huge site clean-up that uncovered two grape vines! Over the years Goodlad garden has been transformed into a community hub – it’s a workshop site for Burnaby Food First and a site for the ‘In the Garden’ festival in the fall where all are invited to enjoy the harvest and local entertainment (storytellers, musicians, magicians, etc.).
Bosa Collaborative Garden
In early spring 2015 Can You Dig It was approached by Bosa Properties Foundation to engage residents to build community in their 90 unit rental building through their rooftop garden. With over 30 people excited and interested in growing food, the collaborative model of gardening was the only way forward!
All crops are chosen together, the planting, maintenance and watering responsibilities are share and as well as the harvest! Residents have been enjoying getting to know each other through potluck BBQs with ingredients harvested from the garden, workshops, and pesto-making events - one resident has been harvesting catnip to dry and prepare catnip pillows for all the cats in the building! Even with all the residents involved there is way too much produce for everyone to eat, and so this garden has been making regular donations to Quest Food Exchange. Watch this video and be inspired!
Kitsilano Collaborative Garden
You may have noticed an increase of community gardens in Vancouver over the past couple of years, and with the positive impacts they seem to have on the community, it’s no surprise. Gardens can turn a vacant space into a sanctuary, provide a great place to get together with friends, and make connections between neighbours. And let’s not forget the obvious – local gardens grow some of the tastiest produce available.
The Kitsilano community garden, located next to Kitsilano Community Centre, is built into a small tightly wound space that borders the community center. At first, it might seem like an unusual place for a garden. It’s much smaller than you’d expect and isn’t shaped like the gardens we’re used to seeing. But this is exactly the type of place that Can You Dig It hopes to find when starting a new project. “We are using pieces of land we wouldn’t have thought of using before”, they explain “But if we’re going to make this work we have to be more creative with how we use space”. The Kitsilano community garden is well worth a visit. If you go, you’ll see garden plots that have been elevated and shaped to get the most possible surface out of the small piece of land. It’s this exact sort of creativity that allows these urban plots to flourish and beautify a communal space. Only a few years ago the neighbourhood was a suburban area, and in its place is a shared space for people to work together and grow not only food, but a sense of community as well.
What are you waiting for? Go ahead and get growing!
Story inspired by COLLABORATIVE COMMUNITY GARDEN ENJOYS ROOT IN KITSILANO - written by Dave Wheaton, first published in the Kerrisdale Playbook