Thursday, August 19, 2010

Open House Survey Results

Thanks to all those who showed up for the Open House and especially to those who filled out a survey. We have compiled the information below. If you haven't yet filled one out, look in the history of this blog and copy and paste the survey and email your questions to

Thanks for your participation!

Fairfield Community Garden Open House – August 10th 2010 – 7 to 9 pm

39 people signed in attendance

25 surveys were completed

Approximately half the surveys were in favour of the garden.


What would like to see in the garden?
• programs involving children
• program for a community feast
• workshops
• education
• gogi trees
• cob workshops
• worm composting
• bees
• extra food given to those less fortunate
• community art projects
• perennials
• potlucks
• yoga
• tai chi
• permaculture design workshops

What are your concerns about the garden?
• deer and other animals
• fencing for this purpose
• resistant neighbours and nay-sayers
• not enough allotments

What are your suggestions for the garden?
• involve the following: neighborhood kids, seniors, adults, Sir James Douglas school, low income families, students with no lawns, babies, grandmas, the city

Half of the surveys were in opposition.


• 7 opposed the project in its entirety
• 2 surveys were incomplete
• 2 surveys did not state reasons to opposition

The main reason given for opposition was that the Community Garden would interfere with the current uses of the park.

"Most houses in Fairfield have yards, we don’t need another community garden."

"The green space will be changed in ways that conflict with its current use."

"Use of park space should not be allotted to garden ‘clubs'."

“Parks are for recreation and repose, not zucchini growing.”

"Current location is a 'savanna'; would like to see it kept that way."

"Presence of the gardens will lead to the destruction of a Garry Oak ecosystem."

"The garden would only serve 8-10 people, the park serves everyone."

"Most people enjoy it as is, it doesn’t need to change."

"Dog-walkers will be forced off flat area and on to Garry Oak trees."

"Robert Porter Park is one of the few remaining large undeveloped places for people to enjoy."

Other reasons:
• loss of nature
• students will be forced to play on rocks
• Garry Oaks are rare and endangered, vegetables can be grown anywhere
• allotments should not be allowed in parks
• already in constant use for non-gardening purposes
• loss of common green space used by school children, dog walkers, and neighbours.
• concerns over wildflower destruction
• poor choice of location
• taking well used public space away from the people
• park should be left as an open space
• concerns about noise, weeds, reduced open space, general inappropriate land use

What are your suggestions?

• find another location
• more dialogue with the neighbours, enhanced community consultation
• follow the “correct process”
• getting rid of allotment gardens
• use of Ebert park, or park on Linden and Chapmen

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Open House Planning Meeting...with Fondue

Come by the Fairfield Community Place Wednesday August 4th for a planning session for the Open House at 7 pm. Ask at the front desk where the group is.

Alternatively, come by 1311 Point Street on Thursday August 5th, 6:30 p. We will be crafting and creating some of the materials for the open house that evening, as well as eating chocolate fondue. Bring fruit or sweet to dip; fondue will be provided!

Update on the Garden Design

Here is some more information and a plan for the garden design. The plan is a work in process; the commons area will include a more specific map of plants and their planned location.

The Design
The main design of the gardens will incorporate a food forest style commons adjacent to an allotment garden, a design that allows community members to access the public space in an active and engaging manner. The gardens will link the values of accessible garden space with those of educational opportunities and local food resilience. The allotment sites will border the commons and be clearly demarcated. The allotments will comprise eight 4-by


• The garden would be located in Robert Porter Park, in the area between the upper field leased by Sir James Douglas Elementary School and the playground area at the far end of the park. This area was originally used for the FGCA bonfire, and is otherwise mainly used by dog walkers and pedestrians.
• The commons would largely border Thurlow Rd. The allotments will be in the naturally enclosed area adjacent to the Garry Oak meadow.
• Wide and open paths will allow for the flow of pedestrians and dog walkers, as well as allowing for continued use of space by community members. Smaller paths will cut through the commons, allowing community members to access food-bearing plants from varying directions.

Park Entrance
The entrance to the commons would be an existing set of steps leading from Thurlow Rd. Pathways from all directions will provide access to the gardens from other parts of the park.

The gardens would include a seating area, including a cob bench crafted by community members and volunteers. The cob bench would be covered to provide shelter and ensure longevity of the structure. It would also include a map and community garden bulletin board.

Plants in the commons area are being selected with community consultation for their resiliency, diversity, and ability to produce high yields with minimal maintenance. The commons design would incorporate chestnut trees into the existing treeline along Thurlow St. as well as smaller fruit varieties such as 'Desert King' fig, Goumi and Gogi berry bushes, as well as native Saskatoon berries, and an undergrowth of herbaceous perennials such as artichoke and culinary and medicinal herbs.

Herbaceous Perennials
Globe Artichoke

• Comfrey
• Calendula
• Lavender
• Mint
• Oregano
• Thyme


• Goumi berry
• Clove current
• Saskatoon berry
• Huckleberry
• Gogi berry

Chinese chestnut
'Desert King' Fig

Planting Strategy
The positioning and spacing of the plants is designed for the mature plants to yield to their full capacity. Smaller trees will be protected from deer and dogs until they are mature enough to withstand animals. The first task is to build the allotment beds and prepare the soil for spring planting. Some varieties may be planted in the fall while the spring of will see the full installation of the gardens. Any further planting will largely depend on success of the previous plantings as well as any ongoing food security needs.

Additional plantings will occur in the first few years to maximize food yield. This will include annual vegetables such as squash as well as smaller perennials that will yield more quickly then the chestnut trees and figs. After five years the fig trees are expected to begin their yield, while the chestnuts are designed to provide long term food security to the area.

Education & Outreach

The gardens will include educational signage for individuals to recognize the various plants and trees in the garden.