Fiskars partners with Canadian Tire and City of Vancouver to plant a community garden today June 23
Gardeners begin work at 8am. Photo by Michael Levenston.
Orange shirts descend upon Commercial & 8th in Vancouver to green city lot
Two vacant City of Vancouver-owned lots at the intersection of East 8th Avenue and Commercial Drive in the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood will become a source of community pride today as Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb transforms the barren patch of soil into a beautiful and productive neighborhood garden in a single day.
Fiskars, a leading manufacturer of garden tools, joined forces with Canadian Tire and the City of Vancouver to coordinate, plan and execute the community gardening event. More than 70 volunteers will participate in the day’s events of wheel barrowing dirt, building frames for raised beds, laying soil, planting and mulching. The garden will be a combination of edibles fruits and vegetables as well as decorative perennials like sage, daylilies, coreopsis, and flowering trees donated by Canadian Tire.
“This is a welcome new food producing garden in Vancouver,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “It’s great to see the private sector get involved in local food production this is exactly the kind of creative partnership we want to be fostering. Vancouver is keen to reach our goal of becoming the world’s greenest city by 2020, and new community gardens like this one are a great way to get us there.”
City staff were on hand to help build the garden. Andrew Pask and Director Mary Claire Zak from Social Planning, and Erin MacDonald, Green Streets Coordinator. Photo by Michael Levenston
“We chose Vancouver because of its strong community garden network, and we’re confident that the garden caretakers will help ensure the space is productive for years to come,” said Paul Tonnesen, president of Fiskars. “We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working alongside community members to develop something fundamental and lasting to people who could use it, as well as help promote the City’s goals of urban agriculture and neighborhood-based food production.”
Plan of the new garden. Photo by Michael Levenston.
The non-profit posAbilities will administer and tend the new garden through its Can You Dig It! initiative, which assists people with developmental disabilities, together with their community, to transform urban spaces into agricultural bounties. The initiative trains persons with disabilities in woodworking and gardening. They are then hired to establish produce and art gardens throughout the Lower Mainland. Can You Dig It! will also give back a percentage of the crop from this new garden to food depots or food programs. Gardeners may also find other ways to give back to the community, such as organizing harvest meals. In addition to Can You Dig It! participants, local residents and members of MOSAIC a non-profit organization serving immigrants and refugees will also be able to obtain individual plots in the new garden.
Gardeners ready to dig in. Photo by Michael Levenston.
This is one of three urban sites in North America selected by Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb. Portland, Ore. (April 28) and Columbus, OH (June 2) were the other beneficiaries of the project in 2010. Baltimore, Atlanta, Toronto, Orlando, San Francisco, and Chicago have been recipients of past community garden makeovers and neighborhood beautification. Fiskars founded Project Orange Thumb in 2002 and, to date, has donated nearly $1 million to more than 115 community gardens through the program.