Written by Katherine Wasiak
Community gardens are starting to spout up throughout Lethbridge, and bringing local residents together over the food they grow. Not sure where to start and looking for a community garden to suit your needs? Check these out:
How does your community garden grow? These gathering places are sprouting up throughout our city!
- Grow It! Community Garden Association has the longest running community garden in the city, having been in operation for well over 20 years. Located near the Lethbridge Animal Shelter on the north side, the group leases land from the City. Currently, the 94 ground-level plots are all taken, and according to Eunice David, secretary-treasurer, this year they had 40 people on its waiting list.
- Campus Roots, in operation since 2009 and located on University of Lethbridge grounds, rents individual raised-bed plots and has communal elements to the gardens including common spaces, the orchard, and composting.
- The Interfaith Learning Garden at the Interfaith Food Bank offers gardening workshops open to everyone during the summer.
- The Kinsmen Open Community Garden at Kinsmen Park is a collective garden, where people work co-operatively on all aspects of gardening including planting, weeding, harvesting, and sharing produce. According to its website, the mission of the garden is to provide a centrally located space to build community connections, cultivate plants, and share knowledge and resources to support more gardening activities for Lethbridge residents.
- This spring a new collective garden broke ground at the Boys and Girls Club in partnership with the Westminster Neighbourhood Association on the city’s north side.
- On the west side, one of our city’s newest community gardens is the Copperwood Circle Community Garden, which has a combination of allotment or individual and collective plots. The garden was developed by the City of Lethbridge’s Parks Department.
Future Community Gardens
According to Jerry Firth, Neighbourhood Development Coordinator for the City of Lethbridge, three new gardens are also on the horizon, although not all the details have been confirmed.
These gardens, like the Copperwood Circle Community Garden, will be developed by the City’s Parks Department. “Some of the amenities we are providing are: edible groves (apple and pear trees, as well as blueberry and Saskatoon blushes), picnic areas with shelter, water access, a tool shed, wheelchair access to dedicated wheelchair accessible gardens and a compost area,” explains Ryan Carriere, Parks Planning Manager.
One is a collective garden to be located at the Blackfoot Family Lodge. Another, very similar to the one in Copperwood, is proposed for the new Legacy Ridge school site, and a location near Nicholas Sheran pool and ice arena, on the west side, may also become a site for a future community garden. “One of the goals of the placement of these gardens is to provide the schools with access to the garden in order to enrich their curriculum and provide space for outdoor learning,” Ryan states.
“This new model of community garden Parks [has] designed, which [is] new to Lethbridge, take advantage of local partnerships with schools, community associations, and land developers to foster community ownership. We have strategically located these gardens within school grounds to take advantage of several benefits; access to infrastructure like parking, water, and electric, and we also benefit from the location of these sites as they are usually in the heart of the community and provide better accessibility to residents,” Ryan adds.
Read more about community gardens in our July/August 2016 issue.