Pete Rose (right) and son Jasper Helmuth harvest fresh zucchini and carrots from their Oak Bay garden, which will be featured on the 2017 Urban Food-Garden Tour. (Morgan Cross photo)

Victoria Urban Food-Garden Tour back for second year

Yards, allotments and boulevards show their crops for amateur and seasoned gardeners alike

Morgan Cross / News contributor

The Victoria Urban Food-Garden Tour is back for its second year, featuring 14 inspiring gardens in Greater Victoria.

Participants in the self-guided tour can drive, bike or, courtesy of Oak Bay Bicycles, e-bike their way through some of their favourite locations, discovering stunning gardens and learning how to grow their own produce along the way.

In 2015, the event sold approximately 350 tickets – a number that evoked happy surprise from organizer Elizabeth Vibert. On the morning of the event, one Garden Works ticket location had to request more tickets to keep up with demand.

“The motivation to keep it going every year really came from those people who attended the first time,” said Vibert. “We had older home gardeners that had been growing food forever, and then we had young people who might have had their first shared house or first apartment with a balcony, and wanted to learn how to grow.”

Vibert was initially motivated to organize the tour to promote sustainable food production locally and globally. An associate professor at UVic in the history of poverty, small-scale farmers and food sovereignty, she and Elmarie Roberts of Haliburton Community Organic Farm paired together and developed the idea to raise both awareness and funds with the event. In 2015, gardeners and gardeners-to-be learned how to grow their own crops at home, while money raised went toward Haliburton Community Organic Farm, 1Up Single Parent Resource Centre and the Hleketani Community Garden in Limpopo, South Africa. Funds go to the same three recipients this year. Jelena Putnik joins Vibert and Roberts in organizing.

Vibert partnered with the 1Up Single Parent Resource Centre for this very reason. “A very important piece for me was making the best of summer local produce available to lower income people.”

Similarly, the Hleketani Community Garden in South Africa makes local food available to local people. No Urban Food-Garden Tour took place in 2016 due to the fact that Vibert was at the farm in South Africa during the organization period, conducting an oral project with the farm’s women founders. This project led to the release of the film The Thinking Garden, which was released March 1, 2017.

In South Africa farms face much more frequent drought and pest pressures as a result of climate change, Vibert said.

“Here in Victoria, we can be harvesting food 12 months of the year, so we have no excuse not to be growing,” she said, suggesting homeowners can even grow salad plants on their balconies, if without space.

Oak Bay gardener Pete Rose agrees. His own yard, of a modest size but bursting with fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, will be shown on the tour this September.

“I feel passionately about people growing their own food if they have the opportunity, whether it’s a large or a small space,” he said. Rose has worked in tropical medicine, agriculture and forestry in Africa, which prompted his taking to the Hleketani Community Garden cause.

“I think [when people grow] food in their home gardens, whether that’s a concrete balcony or a large backyard, it makes people much more conscious of the provenance of their food,” Vibert said.

“It’s also incredibly gratifying to pick your own beans or harvest your own lettuce.”

Ticket information and a map of tour spots are available at vicurbanfoodgardens.wixsite.com/tour.

editor@oakbaynews.com

 

Pete Rose harvesting carrots from his Oak Bay garden, which will be featured on the 2017 Urban Food-Garden Tour. (Morgan Cross photo)

Just Posted

Two to hospital after University of Victoria sailing mishap

Wind gusts capsize boat of recreational club sailors

Victoria’s deaf community advocates for different sign languages to be recognized on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Transport Canada announces funds for pollutant clean up in Victoria Park, removal of abandoned boats

Contaminants at Laurel Point Park will be removed starting at the end of September

Saanich ‘inside cat’ comes home two weeks later, two pounds lighter

The only one not excited about the return of Arthur, is the… Continue reading

Moon Lantern festival to light up Gordon Head

Saturday night festival celebrates harvest moon, fall season

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

B.C. VIEWS: Looking under the hood of ICBC’s war on crashes

Is our accident rate really soaring, or is it inefficiency?

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

16 people died when Humboldt Broncos bus collided with a semi-truck in rural Saskatchewan

The Vatican ‘owes God an apology,’ activist says in letter to Pope Francis

Letter came after a report on sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children in six Pennsylvania dioceses

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

Most Read