Summerlea Plants a Pop-up Garden

If you’ve been at the Summerlea Park lately, you may have noticed a new feature. Summerlea is participating in the City of Edmonton’s Pop-Up Community Garden Program. The pilot program was set up by the City to ease the worry about food security.

To participate in the program, the Summerlea Community Garden Committee submitted an application form, which included a statement about how the garden would contribute to the food security of our community.

Our response was as follows :

  • The pop-up garden will raise awareness about the potential for growing our own food. Most residents live either in houses with small yards shaded by mature trees or in condos, which makes growing vegetables difficult. The pop-up garden will demonstrate the value of community gardening, especially during the harvest season.
  • The children of the neighborhood will be exposed to vegetable gardening.
  • The produce from the three extra garden boxes will go to the Food Bank or Mustard Seed or whoever is most in need. A portion of the September harvest will be reserved for our annual celebration in the park.

Since we made the application, two more families joined the garden, leaving one planter purely for the community. As of June 4, all planters have been sown.

We are still working on our application to the City for a permanent community garden, and we’re currently at the project charter stage. Help is always welcome. If you want to join the group, or just get on our mailing list, send an email to

Report on the Community Garden Workshop with the City

The community garden group was formed in the last few months, and on May 15 we had our first meeting together with the City. Erin Isaac from the City of Edmonton was there and so was Jeanetta ( ) from Sustainable Food Edmonton. Chase Jingles, our neighborhood liaison was also there to help and facilitate. We filled the meeting room at the Jasper Place Library.

Handouts were passed around and Jeanetta explained the value of assigning roles to committee members. Starting and running a community garden takes different talents and interests, from recruiting members to handling money. Some people will enjoy certain tasks more than others. As we are all volunteers, it’s important to avoid burnout.

However, we can put off role assignment for now because our first task is about goals and big picture. Erin presented an overview of the two initial documents that we will pull together—Vision and Terms of Reference.

West Meadowlark has a “bee hotel” in their garden
  • Vision defines our purpose for having the garden. So, besides our personal desire to obtain some gardening space, how will the garden benefit our community?
  • Terms of Reference lays out our decisions about how we will operate, who can participate, standards and enforcement, how we will get started and evolve. It’s all in the context of our neighborhood, and what we are prepared to take on. Obviously, there is no one way to do things (thank goodness) and we have much latitude in our style and approach.

Where we will not have so much freedom of choice is the garden site. After submitting the Vision and Terms of Reference, we’ll submit architectural plans of the garden layout and location. We’ll have to present a few options because the City and utility companies might have plans and issues that we don’t know about.

Erin encouraged us to look around and visit other community gardens in person or online, to get connected with other community gardeners, and to join Sustainable Food Edmonton.

Erin is going to send templates and examples for Terms of Reference and we’ll post a link.

The next meeting is on May 29 at 7 p.m. (see event details) to discuss the vision and terms of reference.

Community Garden Workshop Planned

We now have seven people interested in pursuing a community garden for Summerlea.

If you would like to know what it takes to getting a community garden going, you might like to join us at the workshop put on by the City of Edmonton, targeted just for us.

Here are the meeting details.