In Calgary we have an abundance of space as we are a sprawly city.
We also have amazing soil, tons of sunshine and I happen to know of crops that will succeed with very little effort in this city of ours.
I made up a bed on my front lawn, my son painted a sign and came up with the alliteration “Calgary Community Crops” (can be found on Facebook), and we started to spread the word that these crops were intended for anyone to harvest.
What I noticed?
People knew what to do with kale and lettuce, but they weren’t as certain about how to pick root crops; beets, radishes.
No one seemed to notice the beans or zucchini until I pointed them out.
Some people were too shy to harvest from my garden, so I started bagging up produce and delivering it to neighbours I thought would be grateful. This was always well received.
I have made up a laminated booklet which I will hang from my sign next year explaining when and how to harvest the crops. I realize I need to help educate people on harvesting… people who access my crops don’t know how things grow.
The most special moments for me with these crops were when I’d hear kids laughing out front, only to find they were harvesting peas with friends and dogs while the parents chatted on the sidewalk.
My front lawn started to become a local activity/hand out spot for young families, and this made my heart swell!
I am hoping to inspire others to do the same next year and will provide signage for anyone interested in turning their front yard into a community crops site.
Contact me via Facebook or at this email address for more info.