This article was originally posted at www.thelocalgood.com.
Did you know that Edmonton has over 80 community gardens and counting? With 20+ plots each, that’s over 1600 chances for #localgoodness to bloom in YEG! And since our community gardens were recently given the go ahead to continue operations (within AHS standards of course) from the City, The Local Good wanted to focus on some small acts of co-gardening and co-composting goodness that you can do using your time, money, and voice today!
Why it Counts:
In times of distance and isolation, our local food systems come under intense pressure. Many of us are realizing just how important it is to not only understand where your food comes from, but how it is grown, how to grow it, and how to ensure that your food waste is minimal.
And what better way to start improving food literacy and supply in Edmonton than by taking a hands-on approach?
Take some time today to learn how to build your own co-victory garden or start a compost for your household or neighbourhood. Expose yourself to some great local links and resources on how to properly take care of your new plants, how to start a few early seedlings, or how to build a compost in your apartment (we’ve listed a few to get you started at the end of the article).
You might even think about planting some edible plants in your back alley for vulnerable populations to take for free!
Some other ways to start are by downloading the local app that shares recycling and composting/ waste pick-up information, or to become familiar with local community gardens in your area, especially if you are looking to sign up and take care of an extra plot of earth. (We’ve heard they’re easing sign-up restrictions for community gardening this summer!). And if you end up with extra produce at the end of the season, be sure to donate it to the local food bank!
There are a bunch of great #yeglocal gardening centres offering delivery and curb-side pickup services in town so that you can start using your time to build that garden or compost!
Use your money today to purchase plants or seeds, or to help someone else buy things to start their own. Perhaps you already have an active garden, then it’s time to get into composting! These materials are easy to purchase and along with your gardening materials.
“Perennial native species need the least care. Raspberries, gooseberries, and cranberries, for instance,” says Rayleigh Conley, a food sovereignty enthusiast on our team.
Here’s a list of some of those local retailers, linked to where you may find status updates on how they’re responding to customer needs during this pandemic. There’s also this link to a list of retailers approved by the city of Edmonton to buy materials for composting:
- Kuhlmann’s Greenhouse Garden Market
- All Seasons Garden Centre
- Ellerslie Gift & Garden
- Brenneis Greenhouses
- Creekside Home & Garden
- Greenland Garden Center
- Arch Greenhouses
- Glass Earth
(If we missed your favorite local gardening store or plant shop, feel free to tag them through your social media with the hashtag #LocalGoodnessYEG)
You can also use your money to make sure others are eating and being fed. Donate to the food bank, to Meals on Wheels, or to this local crowdsourcing campaign distributing Emergency Food Baskets for those in need. Here’s another short list of some of our great Edmonton food helpers that you can help, too:
And remember, if you’re tight on cash, you can always save some by using the seeds from your (locally purchased!) fruit to plant, or regrow some vegetable-ends (like celery or lettuce) to reduce your monthly grocery bill.
Finally, you can use your voice to share what you’ve learned about gardening with your friends and family. It’s a subject that goes well with every phone conversation, and it’s a great way to segue into thinking about where our food comes from, and how we can make the most of it.
You can also use your voice to coordinate efforts within local neighbourhoods to donate materials or extra plants (or produce later in the year!) to those in need. If you live in a house with others, set household goals for composting, or host a learning session with your family.
And make sure you’re being heard online! Share what you’ve learned with your friends, or tell us where you were able to pick up the items for your new garden or compost plans at #LocalGoodnessYEG. Post of photo of you surrounded by all of your plants, and brag to your friends about your renewed status as a community plant parent!
So yes! Building a compost or garden together with someone–whether in person, or over the phone–is something you can begin working on today, and at a safe distance from others. It’s also a great way to improve your own personal wellness while sprucing up your home and neighbourhood (hello, guerrilla gardening, anyone?). What better time get out there and get started?