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There are 18 community


garden locations managed by the city, with a total of 223 plots. There are many more gardens managed by other groups, such as neighbourhood renewal corporations, churches or community members. “In some neighbourhoods, the demand for plots is more


than what is available. St. Vital and River Heights in particular are areas where there is a lot of interest in renting garden plots,” Penner says. Food Matters Manitoba’s


program director Stefan Epp-Koop agrees. When the organization completed a Community Food Assessment in


St. Vital recently, it found some community gardens had a wait- list of 100 per cent. For example, one garden with 30 spots had a wait-list of 30 people, Epp-Koop explains. Comparable numbers are not available as the city no longer keeps a wait-list for gardens; the list was eliminated when changes were made to the garden plot booking process a few years ago. According to Penner there were only 13 individuals this year who were unable to book a plot at their preferred location. “We do try to accommodate


interested individuals as much as possible in the current booking year but don’t maintain wait-lists for the following year,” Penner says. At this time there is no plan to


re-implement the process, he adds. The difference in wait-list numbers aside, Epp-Koop says Winnipeg’s community garden system could use an overhaul. “It can be a bit of a maze for


COMMUNITY GARDENS IN THE NORTH END


The North End Community Renewal Corporation offers support and guidance for the area’s community gardeners. According to greening coordinator Jasmine Tara, there are 24 community gardens in the North End and last year over 900 people participated in gardening activities.


“IN THE CITY WE ARE SO USED TO PICKING FOOD UP FROM THE GROCERY STORY... IT’S JUST ABOUT GETTING PEOPLE BACK TO THE ROOTS OF REAL FOOD AND REAL EATING AND HOW SIMPLE IT IS AND THAT IT’S IN OUR GENES TO GARDEN,” TARA SAYS.


someone if they’re just starting out and don’t know who to go to,” he says. Community gardens and accessing locally-produced food seems to be a growing trend. “There’s more of an awareness of where food comes from and an urban food attitude,” says Fort Rouge East Fort Garry city councillor Jenny Gerbasi. She’d like to see the city develop a better food policy. “I do think it’s a growing area, and I think the city should be working with the community to develop a broader robust policy to address community gardens and markets.” To find out more about


community gardens, call 311.


STORIES OF FOOD THE WINNIPEG FOUNDATION NOURISHING POTENTIAL


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