Hamilton just might have an idea we could use here in Burlington – imagine.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July  19, 2012    Here’s one the environmentalists and community garden advocates might want to tuck away until city budget time. (Note that with Our Burlington you can find any story simply by typing what you are looking for into the search box on the HOME page.)

Hamilton set aside funds for a community garden coordinator that has paid large dividends, and may have silenced councillors who were once adamant that no tax dollars be provided for the position. Just six months of bridge funding to the Hamilton Community Garden network now has resulted in 15 new gardens and substantial fundraising success.

Pause and think of which Burlington city council members would have been on the “not a dime” part of that request.

This is something Amy Schnurr just might choose to run with. Here she speaks at the opening of Burlington’s first community garden on public property. More to follow?  City General Manager Scott Stewart is on the left with Rob Peachey on the right.

At the end of last year, council approved $15,000 in bridge funding to keep a community garden coordinator employed while additional financial support was sought from other sources. Since February Clare Wagner has secured over $25,000 of in-kind donations and “at least $50,000 worth of funding” for local community gardens, while overseeing the establishment of 15 new gardens and the expansion of two existing ones.

The expansions have added 16,100 square feet of plots and are expected to produce 16,000 pounds of food per year. There are now 58 community gardens in all parts of the city including 1000 square feet in the Binbrook fair grounds, and a set of raised plots in Waterdown managed by Bethel Christian Reformed Church.

A report to the Hamilton city council noted  “there are 150 people on a waiting list who wish to acquire space in current community gardens with 20 – 40 more inquiries from sites that do not keep a list of potential new gardeners.”

Lloyd Ferguson said he had “real trouble hiring a staff person” and suggested that organizing the gardens “should be part of the gardening experience” and not utilize taxpayers’ money.

The Lutheran church in east Burlington has had a community garden for some time. It was a pattern for the community gardens now established in Central Park

Former Hamilton councillor Dave Mitchell said he had complaints of weeds in a garden in his ward where there were “some nice homes”, and contended the gardens weren’t feasible.  “You can’t have 50 different people in a small garden and expect them to get along together. I don’t think it will work very well.”

The community gardening network is managed by Green Venture. The coordinator can be reached at Clare.wagner@greenventure.ca.


Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 comment to Hamilton just might have an idea we could use here in Burlington – imagine.