Sean Newton and Linda Chan at the Spring Ridge Commons in Fernwood Wednesday.

Spring Ridge Commons take root in Fernwood

Nestled away in a quiet neighbourhood sits a garden on the corner of Chambers Street and Gladstone Avenue in Fernwood.

Nestled away in a quiet neighbourhood sits a garden on the corner of Chambers Street and Gladstone Avenue in Fernwood.

It’s lush with fruit trees, herb and vegetable gardens and bushes. There are handcrafted wooden benches scattered around the garden and a carefully constructed leaf mulch and wood chip pathway winding through the greenery.

The Spring Ridge Commons is where Linda Chan and Sean Newton spend much of their time volunteering.

Spring Ridge is Canada’s oldest public food forest and Victoria’s largest public permaculture garden, tucked away on a half-acre lot surrounded by residential homes.

Over the last 15 years, it has become a centre piece for the community, with more than 20,000 people visiting it since it was created in 1999.

“I think the space is of great value to people. If people are in nature, they appreciate nature and they will actually fight for nature,” said Chan, who has been volunteering for the last six years.

“If children are aware of being in a public space, in community, nature provides stress releases. It brings community together, people talk to each other, and they’re more willing to help each other. Something like a garden fosters that.”

Local visitors will come to the commons with a book, and students and teachers from elementary school up to post-secondary education will visit the garden as an educational tool. They also grow a variety of produce such as mushrooms, figs, buckwheat, herbs and fruit that visitors can pick at their leisure.

Chan said she’s met people from as far away as Europe visiting the garden.

“The interesting thing is it’s a small space but as you put more energy into it, the space expands,” said Newton, who has been volunteer at the garden since 2012. “This is a way to get to know where you live, connect yourself to the soil, connect yourself with the hummingbirds, squirrels.”

But the project hasn’t been without challenges.

The commons is run solely on donations and volunteers, with many using money out of their own pockets to help pay for supplies.

On Chan’s birthday, instead of receiving presents, she decided to set up an online fundraising campaign to encourage people to donate to the garden.

So far, they’ve raised more than $500, which will go towards paying workers who helped in the garden in the fall, cleaning up the area by the cistern, cutting down and clearing the Oregon grape and replanting the area with kale and other winter vegetables, among other things.

For more information visit springridge.rd123.ca

 

Just Posted

Woman charged in Saanichton stabbing

One man treated for injuries, released from hospital following Friday assault

Saanich’s Red Lion Inn receives council’s blessing for extended liquor hours

Extension comes more than two years after a major fire

Province continues to investigate Saanich’s Horticultural Centre of the Pacific

Investigation stems from May 2 incident that turned Colquitz River ‘chocolate brown’

Avid Victoria cyclist’s legacy bike ride helps fund end-of-life care

2019 Denis Muloin Ride for Palliative Care invites cyclists for May 26 fundraiser

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read