More than 700 people grew food in 19 community gardens
Deb Bartlett

This summer, 700 people took part in a garden project that grew produce and community connections.

Can You Dig It?, now in its second year, is an urban agriculture initiative of posAbilities.

Cinthia Pagé, project co-ordinator of Can You Dig It? says anyone is invited to participate, although people with a disability and newcomers were encouraged to come out and make connections in the communities where the gardens are located.

“In all the gardens we had workshops and activities during the season to help new gardeners and to connect with each other,” says Cinthia.

Members of MOSAIC Seniors Club participated in the Can You Dig It? community garden project this summer. More than 700 people participated.

This year’s project saw 450 new gardeners producing food in 19 community gardens, she says.

Cinthia credits the project’s explosive growth to the fact that partners were able to create 13 new gardens, and because the project became better known in the Lower Mainland.

This summer, community gardens were created on land owned by the City of Vancouver and different partner organizations, including posAbilities, Simon Fraser Society for Community Living and Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion.

“We outreached to many people with MOSAIC, who work with newcomers  . . . and invited them to be included into the gardens,” she says.

Can You Dig It? also does outreach to organizations that serve different populations, which helped spread the word, she say.

Outreach ensures that “we include them and we open the doors to people of different backgrounds,” says Cinthia.

Can You Dig It? project co-ordinator Cinthia Pagé says this year’s program resulted in a bumper crop of produce for the 700 participants in the community garden program.

She says most of the gardens produced such huge crops this year “that the gardeners have been able to enjoy, and donate part of it to either the food bank or the First United Church in Downtown Eastside, where they serve free meals.”

Plans for next year include the sustainability of the gardens planted this summer, and expansion with new partnerships in the areas of education, food security, community kitchens and volunteering opportunities for people supported by posAbilities.

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