Audrey Whitlock has always been community focused. She has a small free library and now has plans for a neighborhood garden. ISAIAH LINDO / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
After Audrey Whitlock lost her job during the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided to work for her community in northwest Calgary instead.
Whitlock has since started building a neighborhood box in their Bowness home. It’s a public garden that doubles as a neighborhood charity and a social experiment to lift spirits during COVID-19.
Whitlock lost her job as a geologist in the oil and gas sector due to COVID-19. Her asthma prevents her from going back to work after the pandemic.
That presented an opportunity.
Stuck in a corporate job, the pandemic gave Whitlock an opportunity to pursue her farming passions.
“I had a shame party the day I was released. Before six o’clock in the morning of all times, I stood in front of my garlic and said, “I just can’t do this anymore. I just can’t do this. I can’t live this fake life, ”she said.
“The oil and gas sector gave me a lot of great opportunities, but it just ate me up. It didn’t hit me. I am a creator, a creator. “
Turn loss into opportunity
Whitlock put more energy into her passion for gardening. She wanted to give something back and maybe earn something so that she could turn it into full-time work.
“I’m trying to find out [garden box] than my job, ”she said.
“I’m good at gardening and good with technology. Why not give something back to the community and try to create an opportunity? “
Whitlock used her tech-savvy skills to reach out to locals and vendors and help her create the neighborhood box. She hopes this project will be a symbol of resilience in the community and help those struggling during this pandemic.
People can donate resources such as wood and earth or personal time and commitment. In return, the donors receive fresh products from the region and the ability to grow their own garden.
“I feed my neighborhood. So if you donate to me, it will be distributed very locally to those in need,” she said.
“I plan to contact the donated people and give them a little thank you from the box. If you are ready to do a job, there is no reason why you cannot get any benefit from it. “
Whitlock hopes this will be the first of many boxes to come as she has seen so much support from the community. ISAIAH LINDO / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
Whitlock wants to turn this project into a not-for-profit organization. The hope is to create a culture in which you help others and give something back. She believes that people need more than ever.
She plans to put up to 13 boxes on her property to make this experiment a job for her family.
Pouring support from the community
On the Calgary Gardening Facebook page, Whitlock has received overwhelming support from her neighbors and the community. It was everything from providing resources to building the box.
Juliana MacPherson applauded the project on the Facebook thread.
“Hi, I got soil from a mature garden and I also treated wood to give from an existing deck that can be used for planters,” she wrote.
Michelle Ripley also spoke out for Whitlock.
“What an amazing thing you are doing.”