Site manager Kayla Siefried shovels compost at the Compost Education Centre. The Chambers Street non-profit is managing a new garden matching service to links gardeners with an urban plot either on a boulevard or in a private yard. To join the list, send your name, neighbourhood and request to vicboulevardgardens@gmail.com. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Match making service connects gardeners with plots

Residents can offer boulevards to would-be gardeners

With 10-year-long wait lists for allotment garden spaces in Fernwood, there is clearly a high demand for urban garden space.

Add to that the difficulties the City of Victoria is facing in trying to install new community allotment gardens and the result is an innovative new match making service that connects would-be gardeners with idle land (usually grass).

The garden matching service is managed by the Compost Education Centre on Chambers Street, which has made four introductions since it was included in the centre’s spring newsletter.

READ MORE: Victoria’s community garden plots are a hot commodity

“The idea is to get people who need garden space matched up with the boulevards, front yards or back yards of private landowners” said Compost Education site manager Kayla Siefried. “Getting a community garden space is surprisingly difficult, and here’s something as easy as linking a person who wants to see their front yard gardened with someone who says, ‘I really want space to grow things.’”

Once a landowner is matched with a gardener, the Compost Centre’s work is down and it is up to the two of them to reach an agreement. It’s important to note that while the City endorses the service, including it in their boulevard garden guidelines, the responsibility of maintaining a boulevard falls on the resident who lives directly adjacent it.

The key issue is to negotiate access to water.

Other issues include defining the size or area of the plot, whether there’s a shared use of the food that might be grown, and also the terms of maintenance (weeds). It’s also worth considering the future of the garden should the user wish or need to move on from gardening it at some point.

The benefits are many.

It alleviates the pressure on the local community garden plot wait lists, which reach 10 years at the Fernwood Allotment Garden (also on Chambers) and the Earthbound Community Garden on Garden Street, next to Bay Street. It’s at least two years at most others (numbers from Lifecycles’ 2018 Community Garden report by Justin McCann).

There’s also the obvious benefits of food security, the esthetic benefit of beautiful flowers and perennial plants that help take care of the Earth, Siefried said. More importantly, is that garden matching enables community building at a level exponential to the maintenance of grass.

“It’s a massive community building piece,” Siefried said. “When you’re gardening on the boulevard or private land, the potential of you meeting your neighbours is exponentially more than if you’re in a back yard.”

The Compost Education Centre will soon be launching more awareness around the program.

Interested landowners and gardeners can email vicboulevardgardens@gmail.com to join the list.

A somewhat similar initiative called Welcome Gardens is already underway through the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society. Welcome Gardens put newcomers and local residents together to grow food in household and community gardens. Participants share resources to help start their food gardens, attend workshops and connect with local agricultural initiatives. As of last year Welcome Gardens has 130 participants from 16 countries ranging in age from 10 to 76 years old.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Just Posted

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Central Saanich strawberry farmer reports bumper crop

Strawberry season could last well into October

GoodLife marathon helps enrich lives, share stories

Seniors’ care one of many causes supported by GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Oak Bay community invited to News’ 5th annual readers tea

Oak Bay News, Carlton House host Sept. 17 afternoon tea

Colwood square dancing open house to welcome in new dancers

“It’s therapy,” said long-time square dancer Linda Townsend

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Tragic bus crash, Pacific FC win and Terry Fox runs

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read