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Gardens, Gardens

Entrance to Davie Street garden

There is a growing movement in Vancouver that is re-defining what “community” means. Community gardens seem to be an important part of it. According to City Farmer, 44% of Vancouverites are involved in urban gardening in some way. The gardens are life-affirming places where people come together as equals for the companionship, joy, and fun in connecting with the earth. The City of Vancouver exceeded its goal to create 2010 gardens by 2010. Gardens are sprouting up everywhere in Vancouver, even in front yards.          


                                                             Front yard corn and sunflowers on 4th Avenue


One defining feature of this urban back-to-the-land movement is the notion of expanding our world view so we are willing to share our own bountiful harvest with others. The City has both “Sharing Backyards” and “Grow a Row, Share a Row” programs.

A community garden that stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes miraculously appeared downtown at the corner of Burrard and Davie Street in 2008. I repeatedly walked by it because I could not believe what I was seeing. It looked like a shimmering new-world scene, vitally alive and openly welcome to everyone, that had been inserted into this old world paradigm of downtown concrete, high rises and businesses.   

                                                                                                                                                Crops at "Davie Village"                              


Chris Barber is one of the gardeners at “Davie Village”. She said that the garden is a collaborative effort with a volunteer steering committee establishing guidelines and the people who show up at meetings sharing topics and arriving at solutions by consensus. Chris said that many people in her apartment building, which is adjacent to the garden, have small balcony gardens which they hope to expand on. She mentioned the nearby sidewalk gardening that has blossomed along Pendrill Street and shared that these efforts have inspired others to create gardens at their own locations.


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