Strathcona Community Micro-Gardens
Micro-Gardening ProgramThe Strathcona BIA is currently seeking funding to create 20 to 30 community micro-gardens throughout the Strathcona neighbourhood primarily on business properties in high visibility areas such as those adjacent to sidewalks. Sites would be selected based on areas that show obvious disrepair or that would significantly improve the quality of the streetscape.
The gardens would be installed by qualified landscapers of Mission Possible Enterprises, a social enterprise that provides employment opportunities for individuals with job readiness barriers and assists them to break the cycles of poverty, homelessness and addiction. Local youth would also be employed as partners with the landscapers to learn valuable food production and community development skills as well as help maintain the gardens.
Depending on the nature and size of the location, the gardeners and the property owner would decide whether the plot should be a community garden, single-owner garden, or a living wall. Vegetation would consist of native perennials and edible plants.
There are a number of benefits to this project.
- Edible plants would provide new opportunities for local food production. Using native plants would reduce the resources required for their maintenance thus minimizing the ecological footprint of each garden.
- The BIA has received many comments from residents and businesses in regards to the need for more green spaces - simply make the Green Zone literally greener. By creating micro gardens, more green space would be accessible throughout the neighbourhood.
- This project would also reduce spaces available for criminal activity through the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). A public place that lacks significant ownership interest is often perceived by some as places where criminal activity is supported. By converting underutilized spaces into gardens, the BIA would help reduce areas that encourage crime.
- The most profound benefit of this project would be the generation of green jobs for individuals with job readiness barriers and inner city youth. The youth will gain tangible job experience and skills. Most importantly, there will be opportunities for intergenerational interactions with Mission Possible’s employees and youth in a safe environment. Many of the landscapers will be able to teach the youth some of their consequences of their decisions in their lives in the hopes that the youth would not follow the same path.
The Strathcona Community Micro-Gardens would provide an
inclusive approach to addressing many of the problems affecting this community
and we are excited about the project's potential. Please stay tuned for updates.