So, out of a certainly level of idle curiosity, a few months back I decided to contact my community league1 to find out what would be involved in getting a Community garden started in my area. Community gardens are, to me, an intriguing concept: get access to some land (either city property or donated private property), get members of the local community together, and then grow food! Of course, it’s particularly interesting to me as a guy who’s always lived in a small house with little to no room for a garden, leaving a community garden as the only option I’d have to get access to a decent sized plot of land. And I suspect, deep down, I’m actually a closet hippy yearning for a commune…
Of course, there’s no shortage of community gardens in the city, but gaining access to them can be tough, and none are particularly close to my home. Meanwhile, I live along a rather large hydro corridor, which means a ton of seemingly under-utilized greenspace, in a neighbourhood dominated by small homes with tiny yards, or high density residential in the form of three-story condo blocks who, needless to say, have no yard at all. So it would seem like the kind of area where a community garden would flourish.
And so I emailed my local community league, and then promptly put the whole idea out of my mind. I tend to have a short attention span like that. So colour me surprised when a few weeks later I received a reply from the current league webmaster indicating that she’d be very happy to bring the idea to the league board… she just had one question: would I be willing to take point on this project?
And it may be totally crazy, but… I said yes. So, she’ll be bringing the topic up to the board this week, and all signs indicate that they’ll provide their support, which means the ball may actually start rolling on this.
Fun fact: community leagues in Edmonton are quite powerful compared to similar organizations in other cities (Edmonton was also the first city in Canada to adopt these kinds of organizations). If you want to have an influence on politics in your area, the two most important things you could possibly do are a) vote for your city councillor, and b) get involved in your community league, as they typically handle park development (including skating rinks, playgrounds, and so forth), manage local community programs, and get involved in land use and transportation issues. ↩
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