Concrete Garden started as a research and creative project of students at the University of Victoria as a project for Writing 216 under the supervision of David Leach. Jory MacKay, Mike Edel, Quinn MacDonald, Luke Stime, and Kim Profili came together to create a magazine that focused on a shared passion for local food and sustainability. Former supervising editor David Leach, Director of Professional Writing in the Department of Writing, is now consulting editor for the magazine.
The group felt that the rise of urbanization on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland was having a negative impact on food production, as available farmland was shrinking and traditional forms of agriculture became less and less practical. The five students decided that people needed to be more informed and open to the idea of food grown in urban settings, whether that was through community farms, backyard gardening, or just by supporting local farmers.
When the class was finished, Jory and Mike decided they wanted to take the project to the next level, and, with the support of their classmates and professors, they spread the message of Concrete Garden to a larger audience. They ran a small demo print run of Concrete Garden in November 2012, with plans for a larger run and future issues.
The second issue of Concrete Garden was released in September 2013 under leadership of Kimberley Veness. Once again, the magazine was fueled by student and alumni entrepreneurs who were eager to grow Concrete Garden. The Fall 2013 was followed by another Spring/Summer 2014 issue, after which Kimberley stepped aside as EIC to become a mother and co-founding member Quinn MacDonald stepped in. After the release of Winter 2014, she oversaw a re-launch and increased production to 5,000 copies for Fall 2015 and another successful Spring/Summer issue.