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Success Stories

 

Community Crop Society coordinates 4 community gardens in SW Calgary.  They host 148 garden beds of which 110 were re-rented by returning gardeners in 2015.

 

"You Get Windburn: Growth of Community Gardens in Calgary" Video, 2013

 

"Partnership Roles, Community Gardens & The City of Calgary" Video, 2013

 

"Community Gardens as a Community Development Tool" Video, 2013

 

"I first want to start by thanking you for having created your website. I have found it to be an invaluable resource as I've been working to create a community garden in the hamlet of Langdon, just east of Calgary. I can honestly say, I'm not sure where I would be in this process if it wasn't for all the great information."
from Langdon Community Garden, Rockyview County

 

 

Mid-Sun Community Garden October 22, 2012

WOW!
What a fabulous season of growing for the foodbank!
With our last harvest of
purple potatoes,
purple carrots,
and (white) onions...
harvested by the folks from Options Calgary...
we add another 67.4 pounds of produce
bringing our total foodbank harvest to 180.4 pounds!
Woohoo!

 

 

What's Growing at Rocky Ridge Royal Oak Community Garden?

Arugula,  Beets, Bush Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,    Corn, Cucumbers, Dill,  Flowers,  Kale,  Kohlrabi,  Lettuces,  Marigold,  Mustards,  Peas,  Phacelia,  Potatoes, Pumpkin,  Quinoa,  Radishes,    Swiss Chard,  Snapdragons,  Spinach,  Squash,  Sunflowers,
Strawberries, Tomatoes,  Watermelon,  Yarrow,  Zucchini!

 

Wildwood Permaculture Gardens
"Things we have enjoyed at the Community Garden:

  - Learning that a mistuake is just a learning opportunity!

  - Meeting people who have come for a walk and stop by for a chat!

  - Accomplishing the goal of building a garden that was just an idea one year ago!

  - Helping a 2-dimensional creative plan come to life in 3 full dimensions.

  - Learning what weeping tile actually is.

  - Experiencing the generosity of Wildwood volunteers and their time and their patience and stick-to-itiveness to see this project through.

  - The relief of digging out a huge river rock from below soil surface to make way for the swales and posts.

  - AND seeing those trophy-sized river rocks become a beautiful natural mosaic on the side of the sod berms.

  - Seeing those amazing sod berms rise from the ground using hundreds of square feet of sod!

  - The joy of watching the first seedlings breaking the surface and unfurling their leaves in the warm sun.

  - Stopping digging to look into the twinkling eyes and happy face of a little one who is holding out a heart-shaped rock she found.

  - The contentment in warching children work alongside adults picking rocks, moving wheelbarrows and the running to play with friends.

  - The wonderful forest-y smell of a shovel-full of wet cedar mulch.

  - Sitting under the shade of the great spruce in the centre of the garden around noon.

  - The day 5 young strong boys stopped their game in the Wildwoods to come and work for a few cups of water, some banana loaf and some cupcakes.

  - The trips in the rain to Wildwood Drive to pick up hundreds of interlocking bricks donated by residents.

  - Having the Grade 4s from Wildwood School help us dig and plant some native trees!

  - Reading the Native Tree Guide Book that the Wildwood Grade 4s put together."

Reprinted with permission from Wildwood Community Association Newsletter Summer 2012

The Power Plant is a community garden tended by retired former employees of TransAlta.  All of the food crops they grow each year are donated to the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank.  Laurence Murgatroyd has been keeping track of the size of the harvest going to the Food Bank for over 10 years.  Take a look! Thanks for  coordinating the garden and tracking the harvest, Laurence!

1999    ---------------  14,045 lbs
2000   ----------------  18,020 lbs
2001   ----------------  11,400 lbs
2002   ----------------  16,010 lbs
2003   ----------------  18,133 lbs
2004   ----------------  31,556 lbs
2005   ----------------  25,730 lbs
2006   ----------------  13,430 lbs
2007   ----------------  25,390 lbs
2008  -----------------  17,750 lbs
2009  -----------------  15,000 lbs
2010  -----------------  17,500 lbs
2011  -----------------  18,200 lbs

 

Gabrielle of the Garden Path Society's Cornucopia Garden celebrates the fact that in 2011 gardeners grew all their own seedlings for the half-acre garden!  Cornucopia Gardeners grew 87 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers.  In the greenhouse there were eight varieties of tomatoes and five varieties of peppers. 

All totalled, 4,200 pounds of food were grown:  1,100 pounds went to garden volunteers, 1,200 pounds went to community harvest and 1,900 pounds were shared with the Calgary Dream Centre, Emma Maternity House Society (short-term housing and support for homeless pregnant  women) and YWCA Sherrif King Home. 

Gardeners experimented with importing nematodes in the radish patch and the radishes thrived to become plump, tasty and worm-free! Despite a huge gopher problem in 2011 and having to replant the garden three times due to wet weather the crop yields were impressive!

For the 2012 growing season Cornucopia gardeners are growing eggplant, quinoa and lentils in the greenhouse. Winter squash and cucmber seedlings are being started in the greenhouse and then moved outdoors into the garden.  Strawberries this year will be in vertical containers and  drip irrigation is being implemented in the greenhouse.  With the success of radishes in 2011, nematodes are being introduced into the carrot patch to deal with carrot fly.  In the back of the garden wheat and rye are being introduced to act as a windbreak. 

 

Allan of Baker House Langin Place Garden reports that the 2011 harvest included healthy crops of Swiss chard, 10 - 15 pounds of bunching onions, 46 pounds of potatoes and 60 pounds of tomatoes - that's three pounds per tomato plant!  He  sends  heartfelt thanks to the Burpee Home Gardens program staff for the 20 "Celebrity" tomato plants that were donated as part of the gift of one tomato seedling for every community garden bed in 2011.  According to Allan, the tomatoes were "absolutely excellent" and the whole crop was "very rewarding".

 

Sonia from the Old Y Centre for Community Organizations Garden tells how in the garden's first season in 2011 it created a means to build connections between people and organizations. The Old Y hired a coordinator for the backyard community garden who also put in a patio and worked closely with a visiting Katimavik volunteer from Northern Canada who had never seen a community vegetable garden before.    

The Old Y Community Gardeners:

  • Made field trips to the nearby  Parks Foundation Healing Gardens to assist people living with disabilities in their gardening projects.
  • Connected Fort Calgary Community Garden's amazing vegetables and herbs with the Aspen Society's Lifeskills Program where clients learn cooking and employment skills.
  • Collaborated with Catherine Winkler's The A.R.E.A. (Arts Recreation Education Agriculture) site regarding food growing  in Inglewood.

What were the magic ingredients for this success? Plenty of produce, personal enjoyment and a healthy number of social events that engaged people made for a great exchange of work, materials and neighbourly connections.

 

Rockyview Alliance Church Public Community Garden has enjoyed such success in the last two years that they are hoping in 2012 to add 10 more raised garden beds to the existing 32 beds for rent.  They have also managed to establish three berry gardens and two herb gardens whose fruit is shared among community gardeners.  Sharing within the and beyond the garden and  is encouraged.  Gardeners are encouraged to "Grow A Row" of vegetables to share with someone in need.

 
Dana from Banff Trail Community Garden told us about a huge improvement in the size and quantity of the vegetables in 2011.  It was due to the efforts gardeners made to replenish the soil in their raised beds.  By adding better garden loam and more peat moss to hold moisture, the gardeners saw some zucchinis grow to more than a foot long! In 2011 they also planted 25 dwarf fruit trees that are staked in a long line along the west side of the garden. As they grow they will be trained to grow into an espalier.

Another 2011 triumph took place when there were more people requesting a garden plot than spaces.  Banff Trail Gardeners improvised and made some extra ground level beds. In 2012 these are being replaced with raised beds, just like the 20 that are there already.  A pergola is being built in 2012 as well. 

The Executive and Board of Directors of Banff Trail Community Association wish to acknowledge the receipt of a generous "Quick Start Grant" from Fido-Evergreen. This grant will provide the means for our resident volunteers to complete our Community Garden Project in 2012. Fido-Evergreen has partnered to assist Neighbourhoods in greening their communities and promoting ecological stewardship. Building community, whilst respecting the environment, is a strong component of their mandate.

The 2011 growing season ended with the First Annual Banff Trail Harvest Festival held in September. It was one of those hot autumn days and the turnout was amazing! Hosting these community events we realize how many new families with young children are now living in our community. We had the added pleasure of having Mayor Nenshi visit our garden site. He was most impressed with all the work that has been done. I think everyone had a picture taken with him! We are very fortunate to have some great garden supporters and sponsors in our community. A big Thank You goes out to Edelweiss Imports, Weeds CafĂ©, the Brentwood Co-op and Saigon Y2K Restaurant for providing some great door prizes.

 

Winston Heights Mount View Community hosts the very first two rain gardens in Calgary!  One is behind the WHMV Community Hall east of the hockey rink as you enter via the parking lot.  The second is on 18th Avenue NE behind the Fanning Centre at 6th Street near the Emergency Medical Services station. 

Rain gardens make it possible to capture water runoff and hold it in the ground for growing plants.  While in the neighbourhood, visit  the Winston Heights Mount View Community Association Centennial Garden which is the community's first group gardening project.