A local Vancouver blogger visits City Farmer in winter
Fishing for farmers
By Carol Volkart
Views From Mount Dunbar
Jan 27, 2017
(After four decades in daily journalism as a reporter and editor with first the Edmonton Journal, then the Vancouver Sun, I retired in 2013.)
What do you do with leftovers from a railway that once ran beside your demonstration garden? Create an ironwork gate, of course. Twine bagged primroses and birdhouses into it, and invite the curious to pass through. That’s what Maria did when I happened to walk past the City Farmer’s demonstration garden at Sixth and Maple on Monday.
Maria was digging away at what will be a bark-mulch path aimed at drawing pedestrians from the recently dismantled Sixth Avenue railway tracks (now the Arbutus Greenway) into the garden, a teaching and demonstration facility for Vancouverites interested in composting, raising their own food, and catering to the city’s wildlife.
Even though the non-profit facility, run under the auspices of the city of Vancouver, has been around since the late 1980s, I’ve only dropped in a few times over the years, mainly for information on composting. But the impromptu tour by an ultra-enthusiastic Maria — plus the inviting new entrance — makes it likely I will drift through every time I walk that stretch of Sixth.
The garden is asleep for the winter right now — but through Maria’s eyes, I could see the cherry blossoms drifting over students in the outdoor classroom, the mulberry tree full of fruit, the hops vines climbing to the skies, the unstoppable wisteria in bloom and the kids’ garden full of children exploring the fairy picnic area under the uprooted cottonwood (it toppled in a windstorm). Maria hopes the new gate, with vines and flowers twisting through it, will draw lots of visitors this summer. “Like those nets that catch all the fish,” she said. “You mean driftnets?” I asked. “That’s it,” she said.