Issue: Connecting with people living in multi-unit
- Contact the property management company (for rental buildings)
and condominium board of directors (for condos). Ask if community
garden information can be posted at centrally located mail boxes
for all to see.
Issue: Grooming the garden's social
- Communicate the garden's culture with photos
and monthly paragraph in community newsletter. Use a positive
tone to explain core rules, planting deadlines, waitlist process,
and role expectations for people joining the garden.
- Host an annual outdoor open-house style garden
tour where people can drop in, talk with gardeners, walk around and
explore the garden.
- Connect the spring and fall garden cleanups with another
already scheduled social event such as community association pub
- Host a plant swap or perennial sharing table at an existing
community association event such as sport registration, Stampede
Breakfast or Harvest Fair.
- Know the names of neighbourhood residents beside the
garden. Make a personal visit instead of a letter drop in the
mailbox. Actively engage them and invite them to garden
social events. Show them your appreciation by sharing fresh
food or flowers. Invite them every spring to drop by any time
during the growing season and see what is happening in the
- Get to know the homeless people in the area and talk to them
about the garden. They may be interested in helping out.
- Let the entire neighbourhood know when new garden projects are
coming such as a small fruit orchard. All signage must be
approved by City of Calgary Parks staff and follow The City of Calgary sign
bylaws. Post a weatherproof sign at the garden
and post a notice in the community association newsletter.
Issue: Strengthening the community
- Have a garden representative attend monthly community
association board meetings to express support, willingness to
collaborate, share news of garden progress and collect information
about community changes to communicate back to garden team.
- Invite community association board of directors and staff to
garden social events.
Issue: Reaching out to children:
- Connect with parent school councils and groups (such as Girl
Guides, Cubs, Scouts) so kids do supervised planting of root crops
in a shared garden bed in the spring. The bed is watered and
weeded by community gardeners for July and August while school and
youth groups are disbanded for the summer. When the youth groups
reactivate in September they return to the garden (on a date
pre-arranged in the previous May) to harvest the garden and
transport the food to agencies serving people short on food.
This arrangement is better than having a garden bed set aside
for school use because it will not be tended in the summer
and the crop will be lost.
- Reaching out to seniors: independent living seniors lodges,
churches, condominiums. Be aware that many seniors stop
active gardening due to physical conditions, travel, change in
focus or amount of commitment involved in gardening. It's
better to welcome seniors via a social event such as a Seniors Tea
in the Garden.
- Compost: It is not possible to welcome
"greens" donations from the general neighbourhood because of the
overabundance of kitchen scraps unbalances the earth making
chemistry. General garbage waste can be placed in bins in
plastic bags and there is no way to keep out weed seeds, chemical
contamination, dairy, meat, oil, fish out of an unsupervised
- Do ask neighbourhood residents for bagged leaves in the
fall. This will help address the shortage of "browns"
community garden compost bins often encounter.
Issue: Connecting with not-for-profit
- Plant Sweet Peas for Peace, donate produce to the Calgary
Inter-Faith Food Bank, Plant Heritage Garlic with cloves from CGRN,
grow catnip for a cat rescue or shelter.
- Form an ongoing connection with clients supported by
local organizations. Informally make an effort to get to know
people in the neighbourhood who live with either social, physical
or economic challenges.
- Figure out a transportation method of delivering fresh produce
to the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank.
- Find out if there is operating in your neighbourhood a:
Best Beginnings (prenatal support and education group for mums
at risk run by Alberta Health Services)
New Canadian organization
Group home for people with disabilities
Residence for people recovering from addictions
Issue: Ways to Grow Community
- Get in touch with Youth Central. They have provided huge
amounts of help to Wildwood, West Hillhurst and Parkdale.
- Involve an art group from the community to provide art a
fundraiser or timeraiser.
- Set up a Free Little Library.
- Host a talk on container gardening for those interested in
getting into gardening but not necessarily in the community
Next topic: Beauty in the Community