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🌱 Gratitude in Bloom! 🌿
A huge THANK YOU to Farm Credit Canada for their generous donation of $4000 towards our accessible garden beds for the community garden and food forest project. 🙏🌳This contribution helps us build a vibrant and inclusive space for everyone, and ensures garden beds for participants with restricted mobility or mobility aids are the first beds built.
The dream of a flourishing garden and food forest in Dalhousie is becoming a reality, thanks to the support of socially responsible companies like FCC. Your kindness and dedication to making our world a greener and more accessible place are truly appreciated.
@FCCagriculture and @FCCFoodbeverage

Join our amazing group of volunteers – please complete our Garden Survey

Garden Update

The garden has begun! A group of volunteers gathered Sunday, Oct 22 to plant 6 fruit trees the garden committee received this summer, through one of the city’s grant programs we applied to last winter. Why so late? The stars needed to align with the license of occupation land approval from the city, board approval and line locates, meaning while we had the trees in our possession, we spent the summer in a waiting game.

With days to spare before the snow arrived, we received the go ahead from each source, the garden team quickly assembled some volunteers and got to work. With donations of materials and time from some amazing members of the community and nurseries, the planting was well stocked! 6 volunteers (and two small versions!) hauled soil, prepped trees, spread mulch, watered deeply and hauled excavated soil away. Each tree received a nice root separation, approximately a cubic metre of new soil, a ring of fresh mulch and 200 L of water to settle it in for winter.

The 6 trees fruit trees, two each of Evans Sour Cherry, Golden Spiced Pear, and Honeycrisp apple, now mark the perimeter of the future community garden bed area. The beds will extend north from the Dallyn Building like the bow of a ship, and a walking path will follow the tree line. The planted trees are marked on the map with a yellow highlight.

The volunteers used the excavated clay to fill in the eroded slope on the north end of the site, covering as much of it with the excavated topsoil and sod.

It was a nice way to send off the warm days of summer, and as the trees settle in their new beds for the winter, the committee settles in for a winter of grant writing and fundraising, to fund further development of our plan.

The garden committee is always looking for new volunteers. We spend approximately 1-10 hours a month on garden activities, and the amount of time is up to each volunteer. If you are passionate about making Dalhousie a greener, more sustainable place, or have a love of urban forests and gardens, please join us!

Email garden@dalhousiecalgary.ca for more information.

Garden Committee Volunteers Needed

The current garden committee is looking to expand the team in anticipation of the LOC being completed this fall.

Below is a list of roles we are needing volunteers for. If one of these roles are of interest to you, please reach out to the gardening committee (garden@dalhousiecalgary.ca) and plan to attend our meeting on September 28 at 7:30pm at the Dalhousie Community Centre in the Sunrise Room. 

Some roles may consist of multiple volunteers or one volunteer may hold multiple roles based on seasonal workload.

Garden Coordinator: oversees the operation of both the Committee and the garden; this role ideally would be co-led by two people

Registrar: Maintains the waiting list for people who want a garden plat; assigns plots; runs the spring registration; accepts requests to join the Garden Committee.

Recorder: Helps set meeting agendas; records minutes; sends out agendas and minutes to all members

Communications Lead: Acts as the main point of contact for all gardeners (through garden email); reviews comments; answers questions; brings concerns to the Committee

Grant Writer: Coordinates the application and submission of grants for the garden; ensures approval from DCA executive team on all applications.

Outreach Coordinator: Promotes the garden in the community; recruits new members; welcomes new members

Treasurer: Collects fees; drafts seasonal budget, coordinates with DCA to manage the bank account, pays bills, approves expenses.

Ground Leader: Plans work days to make sure paths, common areas, hoses, fences, compost, and other shred resources are in order.

Education Leader: Plans and promotes leaning event at the garden. Connects new or struggling gardeners with seasoned mentors. 

Safety Leader: provides safety information, helps gardeners avoid injury, ensures there are first aid supplies, removes safety hazards, and works to reduce theft and damage. 

*Examples of other community garden spaces.

Vision:

Our vision for the East Dalhousie Food Forest and Community Gardens is an interactive, accessible and beautiful communal space for Dalhousie residents to gather and grow together. Developing a food forest and community garden beds fills a void within Dalhousie community: a destination that encourages residents to spend time outside, in a space that is cared for and loved by residents themselves. It gives a sense of ownership to the area, encouraging people to see themselves as stewards of communal space in addition to their own. We believe that a communal forest will foster a sense of pride in our community, while reigniting a connection to the natural world and how we as urban dwellers can live in harmony with nature within our vibrant city. As the pressure to recognize, embrace, and implement sustainable living increases, a public space that demonstrates sustainable and ecologically healing gardening and growing practices is vitally important.

We believe that Dalhousie residents have both the desire and energy to create this community space. Our initial survey of the residents through our community social media groups and digest magazine is overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Why?

Currently, Dalhousie greenspaces are largely open, tended grasslands, used for dog parks or school yards. There are very few treed or natural areas, and even fewer of these spaces are designed for “spending time” rather than “passing by”. Outdoor gathering areas, where they do exist, are overwhelmingly focused on sports, which only addresses the needs of a portion of the community. The demand for communal public natural spaces is inceasing as people realize that connection and nature are vital to our physical and mental health, especially for isolated or marginalized individuals and seniors.

Details:

A food forest is an intentional grouping of native and hardy edible plants that work with the natural landscape to heal and revitalize the ecosystem. They produce passive or active harvests while increasing and diversifying the wildlife and horticultural systems both in the forest and the surrounding areas. Food forests are an essential part of a sustainable and vibrant community. A community garden will be integrated with the food forest and have raised/accessible garden beds available to community members.

Some elements that may be incorporated during the initial design phase:

  1. Accessible paths that meander through the space;

  2. Rest areas nestled throughout the forest;

  3. Zone 3 fruit and nut trees, shrubs, native plant species, and perennial flowers. Design will utilize existing terrain and flora rather than replace it;

  4. Footpaths;

  5. Natural hedgerow planted on the east side of the Dallyn building;

    • Simplifies child supervision in the NW corner of the school yard.
    • Allows the area to be easily accessed by community residents during the day.
  6. Accessible garden plots/raised beds to the north-northwest side of the DCA building;

  7. Parking;

  8. Patio and seating area;

  9. Tool shed;

  10. Rented plots for DCA members and annual gardener contracts for the season;

  11. Rental costs reinvested into community engagement activities and/or Hub maintenance; and

  12. Rodent resistant compost system to manage fall and spring clean up as well as cast offs from bed rentals.

Future Opportunities:

  1. Gardening workshops/events;

  2. Building rentals to community groups;

  3. Events: Annual harvest potlucks, planting parties, spring/fall garden festivals, Seed/plant swaps, host a weekly “weedy wednesday” or sunday coffee/tea social;

  4. Beehives – education & honey harvest;

  5. Production of produce;

  6. Tool Lending Library;

  7. Educational signage and activities such as plant and bird identification, scavenger hunts etc. Schools are encouraged to use the space as an educational resource; and

  8. Seed Library.

*Example of another community garden space.