This announcement got by me back in April. The award winning McGill Edible Campus is now partially a community garden. I cannot think of a better location for a community garden. What a great environment to be on the campus of a beautiful urban university like this growing food and meeting other progressive urbanites.
The cost is an affordable $40 for four sub-irrigated planters (SIPs). Four SIPs will easily produce more than the average sized raised bed garden here in the U.S. and elsewhere. Even little kids can grow food safely in SIPs while learning the lesson of water conservation and where fresh food can come from even in the city.
Kudos to Santropol Roulant and the McGill Edible Campus for their leadership and intelligence to do this. If there was a modern community garden like this on a college campus in either Brooklyn or San Diego I would have been a community gardener long ago.
This announcement reminds me of a post on the American Community Garden Association (ACGA) listserv. The post expresses what I have experienced in both Brooklyn and San Diego from other BTL urban gardener ideologues over the past eight years. Such hatred of technology in a smart phone world is hard to comprehend.
This guy has such a way with words. Such a metaphorist. From my experience in Brooklyn, some of these folks know much more about how to holler and picket than grow fresh food in the city.
One hidden cost of these systems is that management demands are relentless. The plants are totally reliant on the technology working correctly and on your care.
They are 'boy in a bubble' techniques. For starters, you need to come up with a suitable soil (or soil-less medium) to fill your box/bag. Then, there is watering, troubleshooting, etc, etc.
You also won't create a garden with these - You'll grow plants as 'crop machines' in a little factory of plastic boxes or sacks that cranks out a product for sale or consumption.
Gardens as gathering places, environmental greening, places of transformation and beauty - you won't find much of that down this path. I suggest being cautious, and really trying to envision what you'll be ending up with.
Established in 2007, the Edible Campus garden – which does the impossible every year by making the concrete plaza surrounding Burnside Hall bloom with fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers – is an oasis for many McGillians who gather there to read, relax and recharge amidst nature’s beauty.
This year, however, students, staff and faculty will be able to enjoy the garden in a more intimate way – by rolling up their sleeves and planting their own garden.
For the first time ever, a section of the garden – called the Community Garden – will be open to members of the McGill community. For the nominal fee of $40, people can buy a “plot” consisting of four plastic planting containers. Urban farmers will also have access to tools, water and a Gardening 101 workshop given by members of Santropol Roulant, the Montreal-based NGO that, along with the School of Architecture’s Minimum Cost Housing Group, initiated the Edible Garden project.
“We want to strengthen the ties between McGill and Santropol Roulant and we also want members of the University community to engage more directly with this space – because it is their space after all,” says Carlo Primiani, Santropol’s Co-manager: Urban Agriculture. “What better way to do that, then to grow your own food there?”
And, with a few exceptions, if it can grow in dirt, it can be grown at Burnside – from broccoli and bok choy to Swiss chart and Thai basil.