Why not edible fruit trees and community gardens?

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spruce grove community gardnes

Not everything we build in Spruce Grove has to cost us millions of dollars and a building. A little out of the box thinking can lead to some small but impactful changes here in Spruce Grove.

In every community, amenities are often built in at the time the developer is developing the neighbourhoods. Most newer neighbourhoods have storm ponds, parks, trails and green space. But what about community gardens?

Watch my video on community gardens and edible fruit trees on my Facebook page.

Community Gardens

In many cities and towns, including Edmonton, Stony Plain and St. Albert to name a few, neighbourhoods have community gardens. Often self-sustaining, community gardens are a great way to build sustainability into your community. Growing your own food is a cheap source of fresh vegetables and fruit and we could afford to offer this to communities in the Grove. Families living in condos or apartments or even houses with small yards may not have the opportunity otherwise to grow their own food. Even seniors need the opportunity to grow their own food and keep a sense of connection to the community. Wouldn’t it be great if we could offer community gardens to those interested and bring interested people together? Perhaps pair up a senior with a family to work on their garden plot together. The possibilities are endless.

Developers have told me that they often include plans for community gardens but that it is the city that prevents them from being built due to maintenance cost issues. When they develop neighbourhoods in other cities, it is included and they’re built. If this is the case, it’s patently absurd as we need to find creative ways to bring these amenities into the city without it always being a city responsibility. The point of a community garden is to be self-sustaining, not a cost-prohibitive measure.

Edible Fruit Trees

Along the lines of community gardens is edible fruit trees. You can find some fruit trees around the city but they’re few and far between. Why is that? Rumour has it that the female trees (fruiting trees) are messy and cause a maintenance issue. But can we again not think outside the box here and find a better way to make this work. It is FREE fruit for children and families that may otherwise never get fresh fruit other than from a store. I have raspberry bushes behind my house near Jubilee Park and the number of kids and families I’ve seen out there with buckets picking raspberries is incredible. If you had edible fruit trees around the city, and a map to show people where there they could go and pick the fruit, I’m betting you’d have a lot of families take advantage of it. It’s nice we put up ornamental trees, but edible fruit trees can be just as nice and serve a dual purpose.

Spruce Grove Lake?

We have numerous storm ponds around the city and they’re all quite nice and well maintained. However, they are not safe to swim in or do any other recreational activity on them. It’s too bad because we are a province with few lakes and it’s tough for families to find a local lake and beach nearby that is within a few minute drive. Many lakes near here are either very packed or you pay to get in. At one point do we consider building a lake for the Grove? Is this even a possibility? I’m thinking a Rundle Park type of scenario where there are many other amenities so it’s a well used park. A beach would be great for families; we could offer kayaking and canoeing and paddle boating and make it for fun family day excursion. We could also host triathlons and other events on the water. Maybe this one is a long shot, but let’s dream big!