Embracing Communal Gardening
Delta was founded on farming. Its rich history of agriculture dates back to 1868, when two pioneering brothers, Thomas and William Ladner, began to cultivate land.
Today, a new form of farming is burgeoning – Allotment-style gardening. A community garden is an urban green space allocated to the growing of plants by city residents. All manner of plants can be grown, from herbs and vegetables to fruits and flowers. Back in 1996, when community gardens were still in their infancy, Delta Recycling saw the virtue of encouraging its residents to eat locally by growing their own food.
Delta is home to three community gardens, all of them run by non-profit organizations – Sungod Community Garden Society’s McKitrick Park, Ladner Community Garden Society’s Kensington Park North and Boundary Bay Earthwise Garden founded by the Earthwise Society. For a nominal annual rental fee, (Earthwise charges $25), condo and townhome dwellers receive a plot, typically about 100 square feet, to grow whatever they wish.
“At Earthwise, we insist that they follow organic principals. We offer assistance if people need help with that,” says Patricia Fleming, executive director of the Earthwise Society. “We have a waitlist, as all of our 30 plots are spoken for. To me, that speaks to the real demand that local residents in Tsawwassen have for wanting to grow their own food.”
Another enthusiastic advocate of communal gardening, Delta Mayor Lois Jackson believes that urban agriculture is not only beneficial to the environment, but more importantly to the health and wellbeing of residents.
Every year, the Mayor hosts the annual Mayor Jackson’s Garden Contest for Kids, to encourage a love of gardening to children age five to 16. As an incentive for children and schools to come on board, there are great prizes, like passes and gift certificates for admission passes for use at Delta recreation facilities.
“I’m a true believer in the value of soil and teaching children where their food comes from,” says Jackson, adding this year’s contest runs from August 3rd to September 17h. “There’s a real sense of fulfillment when you get your hands dirty and see the fruits of your labour.”
From forging new friendships to fresh, organic just-picked produce, community gardens are harvesting the benefits of shared green space.
For more information or to inquire about available plots at any of the community gardens, visit http://www.delta.ca/environment-sustainability/environmental-initiatives/community-gardens.