Cowichan Green Community recognizes the importance of backyard and publicly accessible food production for urban food security, and for environmental sustainability by extension. The establishment of community gardens in our region has always been a priority.
Beginning in 2004 with the Jubilee Community Garden at Centennial Park, which is now overseen by the Jubilee Garden Group, CGC has since initiated a number of other community gardens within our region including the Warmland House Community Garden, the Caulfield Place raised bed gardens for residents and the ever-evolving Alexander School Community Gardens in the Alexander neighbourhood.
In 2007, CGC began transforming an underused downtown park into a bustling epicentre of food production by building a community garden at Kinsmen Park, located next to Cowichan Secondary School. Funding and community support was acquired and 18 raised beds were erected. Since then, the various plots have been continuously used by community members.
In 2009, the existing garden was expanded to include an additional 24 beds in a ‘mandala’ style garden, as well as a tool shed and compost bin. In 2011, a native plant demonstration garden was created, more fruit trees were planted, a memorial bench was erected and more perennials were incorporated into the landscape.
In the Spring of 2017, we acquired funding from Island Health to renew the ‘mandala’ garden, which had deteriorated over time, was very overgrown and was no longer being rented. The old mandala was excavated to make way for a new set of wheelchair accessible raised beds. We engaged the members of our Youth Outreach team (YO team) to design and install trellises and many community volunteers assisted with the building of the beds, shoveling soil and spreading woodchips. The new Mandala also includes four plots sponsored and maintained by the Cowichan Valley Basket Society – our local food bank. These gardens are currently being used by a neighbouring family, referred by the CVBS, who are enjoying the opportunity to grow their own food, and some to share with their fellow food bank users.
Plots are rented every season by contacting our office. Renewals or new rentals typically take place from January to May. For more information on the gardens or to rent a plot, please contact us at 250-748-8506.