Condos versus Community Gardens in Vancouver, BC
Condos vs Cottonwood Community Garden – Vancouver’s City hall’s viaduct removal plan could accelerate gentrification and hit Downtown Eastside’s green space and food system
By Peter Driftmier
Feb 26, 2013
While many community gardens have a visibly white and middle-class dominated constituency, multiracial working-class and low-income gardeners are among the community gardening movement’s active long-term membership, especially in the greater Downtown Eastside. Indeed, community gardening can be a vital survival strategy for low-income people.
With the $610 per month for an ‘expected-to-work’ adult’s social assistance payment, that leaves little for food after shelter, transit, clothes and a phone for finding work. This leaves a maximum $26 per week that the government says should be left for food after these minimum expenses. That is less than half the conservative amount deemed necessary by the Dietitians of Canada in order for an adult to sustain a basic healthful diet.
Many people spend vast portions of their time in lines to get food to survive. It is often the case that meals acquired this way consist of the least nutritious foods around, resulting in people losing more and more of a say over what they feed themselves and their families. B.C. welfare offices take money off peoples’ cheques when they get paid work to meet their basic food needs. The dollar value of carrots people grow, however, is not deducted by the welfare office.
Democratic, grassroots community gardens function to enfranchise their members, unlike many of the charitymodel food sources that so many people on social assistance depend on.