ReWilders at the Park Board Tree Sale

 

The ReWilders were at it again with fifty kits of native plants going to good homes.  Thanks to the Vancouver Foundation, we were able to provide plants and education to residents coming to pick up their new trees.
Michael led a walk through our Riley Park woodland, 'west beach', and rewilder beds.  Tamara shared seed blends for alternatives to regular grass, sedum mats and a living roof, which was installed by volunteers on our Produce Library.  Thanks to Nat's Nursery Wholesale and West Coast Seeds for having such great staff, resources and products.



 

'New possibilities' by Marieke van der Velden

I originally started to look for a community garden plot in Vancouver at the start of 2016. Full, full and full. A few of the gardens kept waitlists. One of the responses I got when emailing to get on that list "I am confirming that you are definitely interested in being added to the waitlist as it will be approximately an 8-year wait". Sure, why not was my response. In the end it all worked out, that was my year of hiking every and all weekend.

But last year a car accident stopped my hiking in it's tracks and my body and spirit needed something new. By chance, through a friend of a friend, I learned about a new community garden that was being built. Although the plots were reserved for groups, they were welcoming to individual members to help with the garden at large. One weekend at the end of June I joined a work party in the garden and two hours later I was invited to share a remaining garden bed with some other individuals. I rejoiced!

Digging in the dirt is better than therapy for me.  For the rest of the summer and into the fall, the garden became a place not just to ease my mind and gently move my body, but also where I could find connection with the fellow gardeners, make friends and enjoy the most incredible potlucks I've ever experienced. I've gone there after actual therapy session to regroup and re-centre myself by getting some dirt under my finger nails. I've danced in the garden, read books and of course, grow food like tomatoes, zucchini and herbs.

You can have all the plans in the world, but sometimes the universe makes other plans. What I learned is that you should have faith that it will give you something you need in return. When I didn't just want, but needed, a community garden - it appeared. With a community, and friends. I met people (including one of my favorite people in the world) who I would not have met had I not been on this path and who make me grateful that I am.

Keep your heart open to new possibilities.

Here's to another exciting year at the Riley Park Community Garden. I will see you there!

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Hiring Students for Garden Coordinators

Do you want to get involved in a community garden?  Do you enjoy gardening and want to learn more?  Do you want to help organize potlucks, work parties, workshops for kids to seniors, be the friendly face meeting and greeting our garden members?  We are hiring 2 students to work this season. For more information email joanne_mackinnon@lmnhs.bc.ca and check out the job description. Please share with your networks.  Thank you for funding from Canada Summer Jobs.  

Seed Library for our Garden Bed Members

Attention to all our Garden Bed Members and veggie gardeners.  check out the list of seeds we have available for you to plant in your garden bed this season.  Thank you to Village Vancouver for providing a lot of the seeds.  Also, we will be getting beautiful organic tomato plants towards the end of May/ beginning of June, so no need to start from seeds or purchase any plants.

PLANE in the Garden

UBC Environmental Education students worked with families with kids under the age of 6 on physical literacy and nature education.  They had 4 sessions in the Riley Park Community Garden learning about compost and planted a few vegetables.  If you have an idea for education or workshops in the Fieldhouse or using the Community Garden, apply online to use our space.  

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Ecological Literacy Through Gardening

The education project “Ecological Literacy Through Gardening” is a pilot project that involves the SPEC school garden program, Charles Tupper Secondary School and the Riley Park Community Garden. This project is designed to promote ecological literacy among high school aged students, and enhance their access to healthy and wholesome food. An additional purpose of the project is to encourage youth to develop critical thinking about the land, its history and the protocols of community relations and responsibilities. Pictures and more information to come. Visit their garden bed at #5.  

Libraries & Gardens

Built by Robin Hastings (our Bartlett Tree Expert on the right), the Produce Library invites community members to help themselves to produce left in this space.  Selina Pope, beside Robin on the right, led the Work Party to harvest the fall planted crops.

A big thank you to Farmer Chris of One Love Farm who donated the plants and worked with us on their planting.  Marta Ramos, our Newcomer Community Kitchen coordinator (on the left) is most grateful to use the produce from the garden in her program. 

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Connecting to Place Dance in the Garden

Thank you to everyone who came out to this event,  where choreographer Eleanor Hendricks taught us how to connect to our garden space through dance. Lori Snyder was also there to help us learn about the importance of connecting to plants and the Earth as the First Nations have for centuries. 

Special thanks to Anya and her family for preparing hot food for our enthusiastic yet chilly group. We ate pierogies, squash soup, and cabbage rolls in the fieldhouse while chatting and drinking tea.

To round off the end of the day, we began painting on the murals around the fieldhouse, inspired by themes we explored throughout the day through dance. 

Our fieldhouse neighbours Merakos Fieldhouse were also hosting an upcycled market and pop-up cafe in Riley Park. The market was a breath of fresh air in this time of consumerism and waste, so congrats to Rebecca and Selina who crafted it. Some highlights of the event were the "Buddy Booth" where you can buddy up with people looking to get involved in similar activities, the florentines at the fieldhouse cafe, and local organization Melt Collective which repurposes disposed-of plastics into objects of use (check out their website here). 

Overall, a great wintery day leading up to the holidays! 

Harvest Party + Riley Park Through the Ages: a Recap!

Thank you to everyone who came by and participated in our last "official" work party of the season here at Riley Park Garden! We had an amazing day this past Saturday. Here are the details! 

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The morning started with the UBC Rewilder Group gathering in the garden to transplant the native plants from their garden bed into the communal northern bed. Thank you to the Rewilders for providing coffee, yummy stew, and knowledge about how to "Re-wild" our city's green spaces!

Shown below is a slideshow of some of the photos from the garden work party in the morning. The UBC LFS students were hard at work finishing the produce library, and garden bed members were hard at work harvesting and taking out plants. 

After working hard in the garden, we had a wonderful "Heritage Potluck", where community members were encouraged to share a dish representing their family background. Some highlights included Anya's pierogies, Amy's chicken curry, Mary's cake, and Felicia's soup + crumble. 

After lunch was the highlight of the day: the presentation on Riley Park Through the Ages! We were lucky enough to hear from Lori Snyder, Dr. Art Bomke, and Allan Buium about how the space has changed throughout the centuries. Thank you very much to these presenters for their time researching and contributing to this very educational activity! 

What a great way to officially wrap up Riley Park Community Garden's first growing season. Stay tuned for upcoming events throughout the fall/winter- and especially look forward to our Season Wrap-Up Celebration: November 29th at the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House

October 7th: Salmon Caravan Celebration

We had a really wonderful cozy day at the garden last Saturday! Our open-door work party was led by Art, who taught us how to cut cover crop properly and talked about harvesting methods. The UBC LFS students were hard at work building the produce library under Robin's direction. This structure will be ready later this month for gardeners to place produce they can't take home! 

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After the slightly damp work party, the weather let up in time for an educational presentation from Blue Comet seafood at their tent at the Farmer's Market. Learning about sustainable seafood is important for us in order to respect the oceans and the spirit of the salmon! This led us to a Three-Sisters Potluck lunch featuring dishes made with squash, corn, and/or beans. Highlights included Amy's vegan casserole and Anne's cassava and corn fritters. 

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Special thanks goes out to The Fish Counter, who provided us with some beautiful salmon and spreads. The leftover fish platter was donated to the community kitchen program at the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House. 

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We were very happy to celebrate the spirit of the wild salmon as they return from the sea up the rivers. Salmon is a very important resource of the Pacific ocean, and we respect the First Nations traditions honouring their spirit. Pictured below are some paintings of salmon that were done by kids from the "Art of Tennis" summer camp, which will be "planted" in an installation around the garden.

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Lastly, we had a great time in the audience and participating in the Shakespeare-inspired original play by Varouj: "The Garden". Make sure to come see the final production on October 21st! 

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We are taking this weekend off as the rain will be giving the garden quite the drink. Stay tuned for the events and activities planned for the next garden day on October 21st!