The Featured community garden for the month of April is the Garrison Creek Park Community (Garden) Association, which started in the winter of 07/08. By June 2008 they were ready to start planting. Read their story of how they over came some of their challenges and what they learned along the way.
Photos courtesy Marc de Mouy
And so it begins... 18 Apr 2008
The community garden at Garrison Creek Park
- One Year Later
Written by Kat Tancock
We've learned two important things over a year of working together. First—putting together a community garden is a lot more work than you'd ever think. And second, it's incredible what a small, dedicated group can get done in a short amount of time.
Last winter, a small group of neighbours around Garrison Creek Park, which runs between Ossington Ave and Shaw St, north of Dupont St, committed to creating a community garden in what was then a long grassy area with a single path, popular mainly with dog owners. Years earlier, the area contained contaminated soil and the city had done a major clean-up to make it safe for residents. Now, we wanted to go further, so we named ourselves the Garrison Creek Park Community Garden Association and drew up some plans.
Photos courtesy Marc de Mouy
With the indispensable help of councillor Joe Mihevc, we raised some cash, purchased supplies and did a lot of organizing. By early June (which was late, but so was summer last year) our efforts had resulted in a fenced-in area containing a large concrete shed and 27 raised-bed plots. Planting began in earnest and along with it (and the necessary garden maintenance), relationships grew between neighbours.
We had some challenges, both organizational and garden-related (not to mention all the rain!). For instance, the soil that was purchased for the raised beds turned out to be quite deficient, resulting in poor growth without significant amendment—which, unfortunately, took place too late in the year for many of our plants. However, at our 2008 AGM we all agreed that we had achieved a remarkable amount in one short year.
And now, as spring approaches, we have voted in a 2009 executive committee and, with the support of councillor Mihevc, expanded our mandate to include the whole park—and changed our name accordingly, to the Garrison Creek Park Community Association. We have three main goals for 2009:
Group shot with the indispensable councillor Joe Mihevc"
Assess the soil in the raised beds and amend accordingly before planting; assess the soil in the park and decide upon a long-term soil strategy.
Finalize the organizational and membership structure so that all neighbours have a chance to participate and space is shared fairly.
Dream big and create long-term development and fundraising plans for the whole park.
This is not to mention growing great food and making great friends!
Open communication is one of our mandates as well, and to this end we maintain a blog that is updated regularly with news, events listings and gardening tips.