Calling all growers and green thumbs! The City of Edmonton is creating a temporary, pop-up community garden pilot this year, but interested groups only have between May 13 and May 18 to apply. The gardens are raised beds on City-owned or community league licensed land, designed for community food production and as a safe and healthy recreational activity.
Up to 30 temporary gardens will be added across Edmonton, providing gardening spots for over 350 gardeners.
Each planter will be used for growing edible plants only and will be arranged by the City in a formation three metres apart to create an area that enables physical distancing and for no more than 15 people. The City will deliver seven to 15 planter boxes, including soil, to each selected site and will then water each planter box twice per week.
Group applicants will assign the gardeners to their specific planter boxes. Gardeners must provide the plants, seeds, disinfecting products, personal gardening protective equipment and tools, as well as the gardening knowledge and dedicated commitment to support the garden. Once gardeners harvest their vegetables in the fall, the City will remove the planters.
To support Edmontonians and give back to the community, gardeners will also be encouraged to donate what they are able to any local food bank or charitable organization. See edmonton.ca/popupgardens for more information and to apply.
Community gardens may remind people of the Victory Gardens that emerged during World Wars I and II as a way to minimize demand on the public food system. At the time, citizens were encouraged to grow fruits and vegetables, so more of the food coming from farms and processors could be shipped overseas to soldiers. Today, people grow victory gardens as a form of self-reliance.
Self-sufficiency, cost savings and an understanding of how simple it can be to grow food--that's the impetus for Liz Kalisvaart, president of the Fraser Community League in North East Edmonton who, with other league members, is opening a small community garden (of five to eight plots), in the league's gated rink area.