SHARING BACKYARDS (Oh, Canada! Part III)
This is so, so interesting to me. And not just because it’s Canadian.
I confess; my current city does not have its urban agriculture act together.
It has one (1) community garden, inconveniently located on the outskirts of the city. It took a fair amount of research for me to discover its whereabouts. And while you might think it’d be easy to get a plot in a secret garden once you discovered its magic location, it turns out I’m number 29 on the waiting list and will continue to be so for years.
Clearly, the city could use more than one secret community garden. For perspective, the two adjacent cities have 12 and 15 community gardens each.
My city (my city!) has absorbed “community gardens “ into its “urban space plan,” a project so steeped in bureaucracy that it pits playgrounds for children and community gardens against one another in terms of priority of funding.
Enter “Sharing Backyards,” a project created by Vancouver-based City Farmer.
Sharing Backyards is a program that connects private land-owners (homeowners with yard space) to people who are looking for garden plots.
Bureaucracy-free community gardens.
I’m meeting with some garden-activists tomorrow, and we’ll take a look at the Sharing Backyards model. Truth be told, what works above the 49th parallel does not always (does not usually) work in the States, but it’s worth a try. Community gardens don’t need to be a “city” project, and frankly, many of the most successful, longstanding community gardens in NYC, Boston, and other U.S. cities are the products of grassroots, community, and guerrilla efforts; the official city stamp came much, much later.
If you’re curious, here’s the link to the sharing backyards website:
And if you haven’t checked out City Farmer: http://www.cityfarmer.info/about/