Grand Opening of Intercultural Community Garden Saturday May 7, 2011

photo Jason Lang

On Saturday, May 7th, the Intercultural Community Garden Project will celebrate its Grand Opening on the rooftop of St Paul’s Hospital. This is a project that I have been working on over the past two years as a Director of the West End Residents Association (WERA).

The Intercultural Community garden project is a partnership between the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, Gordon Neighbourhood House and WERA. These community partners have been worked together since 2009 to create an organic garden that brings Vancouver’s diverse community together.

Now, after much success, the garden and its symbolic spade will be handed over to the Downtown Intercultural Gardeners Society (DIGS) in a ceremony on Saturday May 7 on the roof of St. Paul’s Hospital.

The project was funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, to build a more welcoming, inclusive and engaged downtown peninsula by creating and tending community gardens together. In an effort to ensure the garden reflects the population of the downtown peninsula, a minimum of 40 percent of the gardeners are immigrants. More than 50 gardeners are involved in the project on an on-going basis.

Prior to the garden launch, over 120 Vancouverites also participated in diversity training, including intercultural communication and anti- racism workshops.

One of the great joys of participating in this project has been my interactions with Linda Rubuliak who is a program manger at the Y. The idea of an intercultural garden was Linda’s and she approach me to participate in the project. Linda has been a real inspiration to me and I have learned so much from her in this project.

Part of the purpose of the garden is to inspire Vancouver citizens to take ownership of their community’s health. This includes the responsibility of the garden passing from the community partners to the gardeners themselves. ―DIGS is the new non-profit society that the gardeners have formed to continue the work that has begun.

The grand opening event will include a ceremonial “Passing of the Spade” from the organizational partners to DIGS as they take on the leadership of the community garden.
Sandra Thomas story in Vancouver Courier on the gardenS

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