Community gardens are popping up around the globe, growing free-to-pick food and a sense of community togetherness.
Incredible Edible Penticton celebrated the ground breaking on a new community garden located at the Village by the Station located at 270 Hastings Ave. on Oct. 18.
Current council members, candidates in the upcoming election and Mayor Garry Litke made their way out to show support for the community-based initiative. The space for the garden was found when an employee with Village by the Station approached Hilma LaBelle of Incredible Edible Penticton and asked LaBelle if she would be interested in the space on their land for the community garden.
“We came down and looked at the site and it was just perfect,” LaBelle said. “We wanted to create a situation where the residents and the neighbours could interact as well and get to know one another.”
She said the garden acts as more than just a place to grow local, organic food.
“It’s a vehicle for actually connecting people together,” LaBelle said.
The Incredible Edible project started in England in 2008 and has grown quickly since, inspiring community gardens in locations around the world.
According to LaBelle, the gardens have the power to bring together people who may have never engaged with each other before.
“Sometimes people don’t know each other or have anything in common, they may even be absolute enemies, but you know, when you start working in a garden or any real collective endeavor, you find that your similarities outweigh your differences,” LaBelle said.
“Your energy is focused on something that is so nourishing and enriching.”
The project is an ongoing one that LaBelle hopes will be adopted by the surrounding community, with Incredible Edible keeping in contact with the community and Village by the Station to ensure things are running smoothly.
“The notion is here that we want the neighbourhoods to adopt the garden so that they’re not left derelict. They actually belong to the neighbourhood,” LaBelle said.
Incredible Edible Penticton celebrated the United Nation’s World Food Day a little late to coincide with the groundbreaking of the garden. World Food Day was held on Oct. 16 and hopes to bring attention the relationship between people, food and our agricultural practices worldwide.
“We celebrated it today so that we could tie those two things together,” LaBelle said.
LaBelle hopes the community gardens concept will continue to spread in local and international communities.
“I would love to see one in every neighbourhood,” LaBelle said.