Lillooeet Park Community Garden. Photo by Heather Johnstone
Community gardens do more than just provide food, they also build community. Many gardeners form small collectives and arrange for food sharing like potluck style weekly meals or harvest swapping; others create educational workshops to share experience and gardening knowledge (like the awesome youth-focused collective Purple Thistle).
The North Shore Neighbourhood House is doing an excellent job of broadening the reach of their community garden with The Edible Garden Project. The project focuses on “expanding the impact of urban agriculture through hands on education, increasing access to healthy local food, and engaging your neighborhood in our gardens and local farm.”
The EGP shows what can be done with a little creativity when seeking space to grow food and distributing it once it’s harvested. With 12 different garden plots in places like backyards and boulevards, the mostly volunteer network of growers distributes the hundreds of pounds of food they grow to local charities, schools, restaurants and low-income community members.
The project highlights many of the ways that gardens can bring people together. They partner with a wide variety of organizations, not just food-related ones, to strengthen their roots in the community and spread information and ideas, as well as food. It builds on the idea that food security means more than just putting food in people’s bellies, it means empowering people to make informed decisions about food.
Now, the EDP is working on their fall clean up and putting their gardens to bed for the winter. Luckily, the Woodward’s Indigenous Winter Market starts today, a five-day event that includes workshops by Good Girl Bad Girl Preserves on canning and preserving so you can learn to keep your carrots all winter long.
Elecia Chrunik writes this food security blog for Megaphone. She can be reached at [email protected].