One of my favourite times of year is spring, it brings everyone out of their houses after a long winter. Neighbourhoods come alive again with outdoor events, children playing and neighbours chatting together. For some, it may be their first summer in Edmonton, something that we have all come to love, for others, it might be the first time spending summer in their new neighbourhood, but for everyone, it’s a time that we can celebrate community. Just as people come out of their houses, so plants begin to make their way out of the soil. In Edmonton, we are fortunate to have many wonderful community gardens that bring people together with a common goal of growing food and meeting others.
Community gardens and urban agriculture can provide many benefits, including family-friendly recreation opportunities, beautification of neighbourhoods, increased availability of healthy food, and community/relationship building. These connections help neighbours get to know one another, which increases the safety and wellbeing of the community by increasing awareness of your neighbourhood. And the reality is that gardening can be a fun activity that is family friendly and can help teach children the benefit of growing healthy and delicious food.
Community gardens are one way to help residents reduce the impact of neighbourhoods that have little-to-no access to stores and restaurants that provide healthy and affordable food options.
In Edmonton, we currently have 80 community garden sites that are led and operated by community groups and leagues. Some great Ward 2 options include:
I recognize that some neighbourhoods may not have an established community garden. Thankfully Sustainable Food Edmonton, a local non-profit, and the City of Edmonton, has resources for individuals and leagues to start their own garden.
As you plant your garden remember, the more you sow into your community the more you will reap the reward of friendships with neighbours that will last many seasons.