Media Release
For immediate release 30/09/2010
Contact: Gordon O’Connor 250 858 9990

Young Parents Reclaim Public Land for Garden
Reclaim the Commons Gardening Initiative Promotes Local Food Sovereignty

(Victoria/Coast Salish Territories)  At 2:00 pm the Dogwood Initiative and a group of community volunteers reclaimed a boulevard on Spring St. and planted garden of perennial food crops.

The Reclaim the Commons Gardening Initiative helps parents access land to grow healthy food for their children and build a more equitable and sustainable community.  It is a collaboration between the Dogwood Initiative, clients of the Young Parents Support Network and the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG) that has received an overwhelming amount of support form people across Victoria.

“We live in one of the most naturally abundant places on earth,” said the Dogwood Initiative’s Vancouver Island Campaigner Gordon O’Connor.  “It is well within our means to create internally sustainable communities.  By turning empty patches of arable land into public gardens we can take a big step towards being a more equitable and resilient city.”

Vancouver Island is one of the most fertile regions in the world.  Forty years ago it grew 70% of its own produce, but today there is only a two day supply of fresh food available locally at any given time.  This is especially problematic because it disproportionately impacts disadvantaged communities.  Low income earners and young families who can’t afford imported organic produce or land to garden are being forced to rely on unhealthy processed food and social services.

“Buying organic fruits & vegetables for an entire family can be impossibly expensive,” said gardener Theresa Smythe. “I hope that this action will inspire other young parents to reclaim public land and start producing healthy food for their kids.”

“I am so inspired to see more and more areas in our city reclaimed to create edible gardens,” said Mary Patrick, another gardening volunteer. “I hope that people will see this and create their own edible garden where there wasn’t one before.”

The Reclaim the Commons Gardening Initiative planted a patch of perennial food crops such as Kale, Nettle, herbs and a fig tree on a Spring St. boulevard in Fernwood.  As interest in local food sovereignty grows it is expected that community groups and University Students will continue reclaiming patches of publicly owned land to create a more livable and sustainable community.