It has been an exciting year for Can You Dig It as we continue to grow our program and network. With garden plots all trucked in for the winter, our team has taken some time to reflect on the 2022 growing season and all that has been accomplished.
On June 4, 2022, Can You Dig It led its first automotive dealership parking lot community garden built in South Surrey. With 50 volunteers from Urban Systems Foundation, PHABC, White Rock Volkswagen and garden members, we managed to build 64 raised-bed garden plots in one day in an empty parking lot! A special thank you to all our sponsors and partnerships in Surrey who helped bring together this wonderful event – White Rock Volkswagen, Urban Systems Foundation, Hudson Irrigation and lighting, Windsor Plywood, ProSource, Artisan Garden Group, Community Garden Builders, Urban Systems, posAbilities, and Maharaja.
This garden feeds over 23 families, fosters a sense of community and creates much-needed green space in an urban environment.
After the build was completed. Can You Dig It through White Rock Volkswagen provided each family with vegetable seedlings to help kickstart the season. From beets to dahlias, the garden is home to a wide variety of crops and pollinators. Additionally, the garden was gifted a picnic table from White Rock Volkswagen, providing members and VW staff space to socialize and enjoy the green space.
Members of the garden have watched their plots flourish this season, transforming this empty parking lot into a luscious and bountiful growing space.
For the 2022 gardening season, Can You Dig It entered into a partnership with the City of Surrey to help support and coordinate two community gardens in low-income neighbourhoods. A community garden assessment conducted by Can You Dig It revealed that Queen Elizabeth Meadows located in Whalley and Holly Park located in Guildford, struggled with garden governance, community engagement and participation. Acting as Garden Coordinator for both sites, Can You Dig It was able to help support these gardens by creating an engaging and passionate executive garden committee which is made up of garden members who assist in governance and act as a decision-making body. We have hosted garden work parties to increase community engagement and connection among members. The garden has been promoted through community channels and registered new members to join the garden. The 2023 growing season is looking better than ever for these two gardens!
In April 2022, the Public Health Association of BC’s Can You Dig It program launched a Community Garden Accessibility Toolkit as an easy-to-use guide for garden coordinators. This toolkit was made in partnership with the City of Victoria and through a Whole Cities grant.
The purpose of the Community Garden Accessibility Toolkit is to explore how Universal Design principles can be applied to the physical, built environment in community gardens. It provides an easy-to-use guide for garden coordinators to develop more physically accessible gardens.
Access the toolkit here: https://bit.ly/3ygtxxp
Access a presentation about the toolkit here: https://www.facebook.com/ConnecTra/videos/465033295586118
In September 2022, Can You Dig It launched the Community Garden Network, a new community practice for local government staff that administer community gardens who are coming together to learn and share how to build and support successful community gardens. We’ve held two sessions with various local governments and non-profits across BC attending and we are still welcoming more to join. This network wouldn’t be possible without support from our advisory committee including Urban Bounty, the City of Richmond and the City of Surrey. A special thank you to Zsuzsi Fodor for helping with facilitation coaching for this network and the Victoria Foundation for funding this network.
To learn more about the group and how to attend, please review the terms of reference.
Stay tuned for 2023 as we look to expand the network to connect non-profits through workshops that will offer opportunities for co-learning and networking.
We are excited to continue to support community gardens in Surrey and create more opportunities for learning among garden coordinators and local government across BC. We will be launching new branding and a new name in early 2023, so stay tuned!