Both of these are near East Broadway and Fraser, just up from a bus stop on the north side of the street. A somewhat bleak streetscape around there, to which these two installations add some welcome texture and colour. But, gentrification?
A few years ago when I first got a plot in a community garden, I was looking for easy ways to build raised beds. I started poking around the various gardens for ideas. Ever since then, I’ve been thinking how fun it would be to team up with a photographer and put together a coffee table type of book that features all the community gardens in Vancouver. The book would be a visual feast and also tell an important story about Vancouver, its community gardeners, and the role of the gardens. I picture a double-page spread on each garden that would include something about its origins and history, and stories or interviews with the gardeners. Something that would appeal to both local gardeners and ecotourist types.
Depending on how you define the term, there are are now about 90 community gardens in the City of Vancouver (according to this list). And I don’t think that includes gardens that are more “guerrilla” style, or boulevards and traffic circles that have been taken over by neighbours. So, it could be quite a thick book – and an expensive one, given the cost of printing full-colour photos. The number of gardens would also make it a time-consuming project.
As an alternative to the book idea, I’ve also thought about visiting each of the gardens and documenting them all on a dedicated blog. Someone did a similar thing for Vancouver Public Library branches a while back, but I think that blog is dead. I would like to see pictures of all the city’s amazing community gardens gathered together. Many of the individual gardens have their own websites, but not all – and there’s something that appeals to me about collecting and presenting the photos and stories together in one place.
So, one part of this new blog of mine is going to be a start on that project, with no firm promises of finishing.