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Keep growing! Calgary Community Gardens are still sowing despite the coronavirus

Harvest of the last few years in the Twin Views Community Garden / FACEBOOK, TWIN VIEWS COMMUNITY GARDEN

Calgary gardeners like Julia Hinman are eager to get their hands dirty in the city’s community gardens while continuing to abide by coronavirus health rules.

The City of Calgary has decided to keep the community gardens open with some rules.

Community gardens in Calgary have been given a passport to plant their seeds as long as they meet health guidelines.


Inglewood Community Garden members may not be able to get together for a Saturday morning meetup or coffee, but they can still exercise their green fingers.

“We can still garden and gardeners make it our priority,” said Hinman, chairman of Inglewood Community Garden.

It used to be a place where you could come and go. Now there are scheduled two hour weekly blocks for organized and supervised preparation and planting.

They took the guidelines very seriously and posted a list of access protocols for those who want access to the garden.

For such a large garden, these specifications are required. The Inglewood Community Garden supports 119 rental beds of various sizes and nearly half an acre of community garden space.

Even with the new processes, those in Inglewood are still ready to grow.

“It’s worth doing,” said Hinman

“We accept that.”

Size doesn’t matter – gardening continues

The feeling is the same in smaller gardens.

Those at Renfrew Community Garden, which has 30 beds and plenty of common space, have quickly adopted their own guidelines.

The room may not be fenced off so that pedestrian traffic cannot be controlled. However, they have set different times and schedules for the gardeners’ work.

“We put the restrictions out there and trust that our members will maintain this,” said Lisa Mulder, who founded the garden together with Heike Pauli.

Although there are restrictions, people are still eager to go out and work in the garden.

Coordinated (and distant) meetings have been set up to maintain the garden and the spaces fill up quickly.

“I have a full list of workers who just want to come out and hang out and weed,” Mulder said.

Gardeners at Renfrew Community Garden stay 6 feet apart as they prepare their garden beds / FACEBOOK, LISA MULDER

One thing is certain; Gardeners are excited to grow.

In the Twin Views Communal Garden in Dover, work continues despite the lack of public access.

Like other gardens, it used to be a come-and-go model. However, a core group of volunteers has taken on the task of managing the garden with 50 beds.

“It’s going to be tough for a lot of people this year,” said Cathy Taylor, founder of the Twin Views Communal Garden.

“It is all the more important that we grow the food this year.”

Twin Views employees share the garden’s products with members of the Dover community and with various organizations – such as the Alex Community Kitchen and the Forest Lawn Seniors Center.

Gardens give back and connect neighbors

This type of community donation can also be seen in Inglewood and Renfrew Gardens.

Inglewood Community Garden produces approximately four thousand pounds of organic produce for outside agencies. There is also a property in Renfrew that is dedicated to donations from the Food Bank. The Renfrew Community Garden also has a communal bed that you can choose from for free. And it has what Mulder calls an “edible forest”.

Community gardens enrich their communities from within. Not only do they provide food for those in need, they also provide a way to connect.

With precautions against social distancing, it’s harder to get out and socialize. We can’t hang out with our neighbors much anymore, and interaction with the community hit a roadblock.

Community gardening offers a solution, however. You leave your home in a common room where keeping your distance is pretty easy.

“It’s another way to meet our community neighbors and safely interact with people,” Mulder said.

Calgarians have sacrificed a lot lately, but community gardens are not one of them. Neighbors can connect with neighbors, the community, and the earth.

“When people come into the garden and start, they find that there is something in it for their soul,” said Hinman.

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