Pemberton Community Garden in the works 

Mayor says lack of backyard should not be deterrent to growing food

Condo and townhouse dwelling citizens of Pemberton will get a chance to connect with the earth starting April 22 if Mayor Jordan Sturdy has his way.

While staff continues to investigate the feasibility of the venture, the mayor says he is prepared to personally till two 15 foot-wide strips of land, 150 feet and 200 feet in length, just in time for Earth Day.

The proposed garden will likely be planted on a triangular piece of property on the north side of Pemberton Creek in One Mile Park. The expected garden plot size will be similar to others around the province, approximately 15 feet by 15 feet.

"You can grow an awful lot of food on 225 sq. ft of land," said Mayor Sturdy, who is owner/operator of North Arm Farms.

The community garden model has been successful in communities across the province, having started in Vancouver more than 25 years ago. The idea is simple, take otherwise non-productive land, such as vacant lots, prepare the soil and rent it to residents on a first-come, first serve-basis.

"I imagine the fee would be something pretty nominal, maybe $30 for the year," said Sturdy.

While the staff’s report on the feasibility of the community garden is forthcoming, the mayor sees no reason why the project should not go ahead. Costs associated with the garden will be minimal. The municipality owns the land and several local businesses have offered donations of goods and services to assist in soil preparation.

"I imagine the main cost is going to be in a little bit of administration," said Sturdy.

When asked if he was jumping the gun on the project, undertaking the organization prior to the rest of council adopting the report, the mayor said he was doing the groundwork to make sure the garden would open in time for Earth Day.

"I won’t be actually doing anything until the motion is approved and things are ready to go," he said.

This year’s garden would be considered a pilot project with the goal of creating more permanent space contingent on its level of success.

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