The Fort Calgary Community Garden Returns this Spring (and is Looking for Volunteers)

The new garden will be created using Indigenous horticultural knowledge and permaculture practices, and will provide a space for Calgarians to learn about and enjoy Alberta’s unique biodiversity.

The previous Fort Calgary community garden, which was closed five years ago. Photograph courtesy of Fort Calgary.

Five years ago, the decision was made to close down the Fort Calgary Garden. The community plot, which was dedicated to fostering community and restoring heritage varietals, was bulldozed to make room for expansions at Fort Calgary.

In the end, those plans didn’t come to fruition and the plot was left empty. So when Fort Calgary’s newest president, Jennifer Thompson, started in February, she made resurrecting the garden program a priority to increase engagement with the community.

The new community garden, grown on the northeast area of Fort Calgary, will not be like other gardens with individual plots rented out to the public. This new garden will be laid out according to sustainable permaculture (the idea that certain plants grown together create a stable ecosystem, as compared to a typical monoculture crop), and will be a way for Fort Calgary to teach the public in new ways. For example, Fort Calgary is working with Indigenous groups to incorporate Indigenous horticultural knowledge and food practices, and create a unique learning experience for Calgarians. The 900-square-foot plot will be filled with native Alberta species of plants and vegetables, as well as plants with historical significance. Food grown on the plot will support local charities.

Volunteers will play a large role in the garden’s creation and maintenance. Those hoping to volunteer are invited to join on April 22 for the volunteer kick-off, where more detailed plans for the garden will be revealed. The new garden is sure to be a way for all Calgarians to enjoy the beauty of the city’s nature and biodiversity.

750 9 Ave. S.E., 403-290-1875, fortcalgary.com

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