The promise of warmer weather has green thumbs itching all across the diocese. Puttering in the garden, for those who have one, is likely going to be a safe way to enjoy the outdoors as we continue to endure physical distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic. What about community gardens, though? St. Augustine of Canterbury Anglican Church in Edmonton is home to the thriving Sunshine Community Garden, and plans are underway to consider how it might continue through this spring and summer.
Most of the people involved in the Sunshine Garden are members of the Fulton Place community surrounding St. Augustine’s. Their plan for safe gardening includes such things as:
Because some regular gardeners might not want to participate, even with safety constraints in place, those who currently hold plots will be allowed to skip a year, with the promise that their plots will still be theirs in 2021. Garden fees this year will be voluntary, and all proceeds will be donated within the community.
Even with all this planning, the possibility exists that the province will not allow community gardens this year at all. Gardeners are encouraged to contact their city councillors to lobby for their continuation as a means of providing local food security.
The Rev. Jonathan Crane, rector of St. Augustine's, believes it is critical that gardens be allowed to carry on this year "not only for building our capacity for local food production, but for the extensive mental and spiritual health benefits that come from community gardening."
"If there is any year to start a garden or join with others in gardening," he says, "this is it."