The Aspen Community Gardens in Blackfalds are in high demand, and the Town is beginning to look at applying for the money to expand.
The current plots were all claimed within a week, with various users around the Town including members of the Iron Ridge Elementary School.
“We’re looking at adding 30 more, at least, on the east side of town probably by Pine Crescent. It’s a budget thing, too, but I know the recreation board is behind it and we want to submit something to next year’s budget. In the fall, we put a budget together and a proposed location to have the gardens in and then we bring it forth to the recreation board, and then to council for approval,” said community services director Sean Barnes.
The plots can be used for growing any number of veggies and provide people a chance to become aware and engaged in their food consumption cycle.
According to the Town of Blackfalds web site, with information taken from www.healthyalberta.com, community garden plots have a variety of benefits from developing relationships in the community to mental health benefits and developing awareness on local food.
“It’s been in the last two years that we’re seeing the demand become more and more. It’s something that’s been quite popular with people in Central Alberta, and probably all around Alberta. It’s something that people are really gearing towards, for sure,” Barnes said.
“I think it’s because people want the good, healthy choices and organics that these gardens provide. They want a natural food base. The general public wants gardens again because it’s cheap, too. Vegetables are more and more expensive at the supermarket, and this is a way, way cheaper way of getting your produce.”
The Aspen Community Garden is located off of Aspen Drive. Registration for the plots commenced April 1st and the plots sell out quickly. For those interested in getting a plot next year, the sooner one applies the better.
Several other Central Alberta communities utilize community gardens, including Red Deer and Lacombe. The plots are gaining popularity in all communities, with continuous plans for development and growth.
“I think it’s a trend that is going to get more and more popular. I think we’re going to see community gardens pop up in more locations as we grow bigger. The City of Red Deer is always expanding their community gardens because of their demand, as well, and we’re in the same boat. I think in urban settings there are more and more community gardens being brought forward,” Barnes said.
“It gives them a sense of accomplishment to have their own garden, and to feed their families off of it. It makes you feel good about the work you’ve done and the food you eat.”