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The Calgary Community Garden is literally a blueprint for everyone

Travis ‘Red’ Oslanski (left) and Ted Knudtson (right) worked together to make the garden a reality. ANOSHA KHAN / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

The Cliff Bungalow and Mission Community Association (CBMCA) hopes they can facilitate gardens in neighborhoods.

The association created a grass root garden to help its residents through COVID-19.

The Potential Garden is a pop-up garden that was created after looking for ways to better serve the community during the pandemic.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, the community association realized that we really had to take action,” said Ted Knudtson, vice president of the CBMCA.

Although the community already has two gardens, they are often put on the waiting list. The possible garden was created so that everyone in the neighborhood has the opportunity to work in the garden.

Knudtson said this is an ideal time as there is a desire to return to self-sustaining practices.

“People are really focused on creating their own gardens, so it’s a great time to talk,” he said.

There is an increasing tendency for people to grow their own food, and pop-up initiatives like the Possible Garden are allowing them to do so. ANOSHA KHAN / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

The project was supported by the municipality, city councils and local councils.

“The Ward 11 Office is giving the CBMCA our hats for this initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Ward Office wrote in an email.

Have a blueprint for success

The CBMCA gave an overview of how communities can create their own garden – and shared it with other city councils and the Federation of Calgary Communities.

Knudtson said the challenge was very different from any other presented to the community association.

Realizing this, he established a guiding principle that any initiative they undertake is documented and then shared as soon as possible to help other groups get their work started.

The document covers everything from the startup process to budgeting to working with stakeholders, the city, design and construction – and also how the garden is operated afterwards.

CBMCA Garden Project Outlin… by Darren Krause on Scribd

“The intent is to provide this as a resource for all communities in Calgary,” he said.

“I’ve had some really, really excited, enthusiastic feedback on this.”

Since this is a pop-up initiative, they advocate a short cycle, release, and re-evaluation model of deployment. They encourage the communities to try the initiative and learn the process along the way.

The draft describes the strategies and methods how communities can create their own gardens and convert open spaces into garden areas. The CMBCA also added their own experiences to the tasks of the outline so that people can learn from their experiences.

Knudtson said this is a pilot project that he would like to spread far and wide.

“It should show other people that they can do it easily and cheaply.”

Knudtson with the first tomato of the season from the Possible Garden. ANOSHA KHAN / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Use of the municipality’s undeveloped land

The garden was laid out on purchased land that needs to be developed. The community association tried to find some land to use for the garden, although there were many vacant lots in the area.

“Buying and holding with developers is very common and common. So for one or two or three or more seasons you will see a lot bought and not developed, ”Knudtson said.

Travis ‘Red’ Oslanski offered his property because it was an empty clay field after the house was demolished in 2015. He said he wanted a new way of using the land and the people in the community would tell him it was a thorn in the side.

“I thought it would be great to have a community garden,” said Oslanski. He took an active part in the development of the garden and made the land available.

Knudtson said he would like to see developers and landowners expected to allow the community to use vacant land.

“If we could use these opportunities to grow food and get people to do something healthy, I’d love to see that,” he said.

“In this economy, they may buy land, but they cannot develop on it. So this would be a good opportunity to use it for a common room. “

Oslanski said the communities have not followed in the CBMCA’s footsteps. You can do it all with vacant land.

“It doesn’t have to be a garden. It can be anything the community wants. Like a park or a playground. “

The bee hotel is a gift from Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley in the garden. He wrote below: “This is where the power of community building begins. Thank you for your passion and hard work. “ANOSHA KHAN / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

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