How their gardens do grow

Sept. 12 tour will focus on 14 home food gardens in Saanich, Victoria, Esquimalt and Oak Bay

Terence Stone harvests a kohlrabi from his Saanich garden. Stone grows about 100 varieties of vegetables in the garden which uses a makeshift aqueduct to distribute rainwater collected in barrels. The garden will be one of 14 on the Sept. 12 Urban Food Garden Tour.

A visit to some of Victoria’s most gifted green thumbs will offer more than just food for thought.

At least that’s the hope of Elizabeth Vibert, one of the organizers of the Urban Food Garden Tour.

The Sept. 12 tour will lead participant through 14 home food gardens in Saanich, Victoria, Oak Bay and Esquimalt.

“Our vision is for people who are either already interested in growing food at home or looking to learn how to grow food at home, it’s a chance for them to get into people’s actual home veggie gardens and see how it’s done,” said Vibert.

While the tour does include Government House and a couple other public gardens, it’s primarily focused on gardens along the boulevards in front of homes or in small backyard plots.

“We have some gardens on the tour that are practically self sustainable,” said Vibert. “We have a woman at one of the gardens, she produces 1,200 pounds of food a year in a small backyard plot.”

She said the tour is part of the food security puzzle, showing people just how easy it is to grow healthy, sustainable food right outside their door.

“To grow your own salad greens across the year, to grow winter vegetables that you can harvest in the colder months, it’s pretty straightforward. Even just to grow a little of your own food, you can do that on containers on your balcony.”

The self-guided tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with tickets costing $15. Tickets are available at Haliburton Farm, stands at Moss Street Market and the Hudson Public Market, through the website or at the gardens on the day of the tour.

“You can take whatever route you wish through whatever number of the 14 gardens you want. You get a map, which we’re going to post on our website,” said  Vibert. “Some people might visit four or five gardens, which is still a deal at $15, while some might visit a dozen.”

The tour is a fundraiser for the food box program at Haliburton Community Organic Farm.

“The food boxes are going to be made available to low-income families through the Single Parent Resource Centre,” said Vibert, adding funds will go towards providing food boxes to lower-income families here in Victoria, with a portion going to a community garden in South Africa.



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