Nestled in Downtown Victoria since 2016 is the Yates Street Community Garden.
Located at 1012-1014 Yates Street, the YSCG aims to increase the neighbourhood residents’ capacity to locally grow foo and increase awareness about local urban food production.
Some of the foods being grown in the garden are tomatoes, squash, kale, spinach, peas, beans, “all the well loved summer crops,” says YSCH steering committee member Janet Strauss. The garden boasts 81 boxes (67 for allotment, 9 used by community organizations, and 5 community boxes). Gardeners and visitors can use the garden from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm on Tuesday, Thursdays, and weekends for July and August. There are also two community pollinator beds, one with local native plants, a community blueberry box, and pots of flowers.
“Opportunities to welcome the neighbourhood into the garden, build community and share this resource is an important part of our vision,” says Strauss. “ Learning from and sharing with one another builds and strengthens relationship in an area where many residents are new or recent arrivals. People are drawn in off the street to investigate the Apiary and meander around the growing boxes.”
The YSCG also hosts workshops and events. They recently hosted an Open House and Pollinator Celebration. CFAIR, the Habitat Acquisition Trust he Suzuki Butterfly Rangers and Pollinator Partnership Canada all had information and/or interactive workshops and activities at the event. “Visitors could make native plant seed bombs with Parks Canada, take a ‘Apiary walk n’ talk’ with Pollinator Partnership’s Lora Moranden, learn about boulevard gardening and food trees on City land from Virginie Lavallee-Picard and other interesting and exciting activities,” describes Strauss.
While there are no definitive plans for upcoming workshops, Strauss assures that there will be more, with gardeners willing and excited to share their knowledge with others.
“Providing a healthy, inexpensive activity that can bring us closer to nature allows us to interact with each other in a socially meaningful and physically productive way is a small step toward a sustainable future.”