A small piece of land on which to grow vegetables can be hard to come by in Squamish. But luckily for local green thumbs, the Squamish Rotary Community Garden has about 10 plots available for new members.
The garden, which is located on the southeast corner of Mamquam Road and Highway 99, started with 24 plots in 2005. High demand expanded the garden to 49 plots over the last four years.
Former Squamish Rotary Club president Sheri Davis founded the garden in 2005 in order to provide local residents lacking their own garden space a chance to try out or return to the rewarding hobby. Since then, gardeners of all ages and levels have found joy in cultivating their own produce.
"There are new gardeners and people who have been gardening for decades so it's a real mix of ages and backgrounds," she said, adding that the youngest member started gardening with her father at the age of seven, and now tends to her own 100 sq. ft. plot.
"The community response has been really good."
Passersby strolling down the adjacent trail can usually see a local tending to his or her organic lettuce, tomatoes or beans, to name a few popular veggies on site. There is also a colourful array of flowers.
The garden cultivates a lot of social interaction between pedestrians and fellow members, creating a sense of community at the site, said Sarah Clarke, who has been a community garden member since its inception. She works at the Whistler Blackcomb Outlet Store across Mamquam Road and spends her lunches tending to her vegetables.
"I think people like to pull a few weeds and get their hands in the soil," said Clarke. "I think it's very therapeutic as well. Growing your own veggies is great, but the actual gardening is very therapeutic."
For an annual cost of $15 per year plus a refundable deposit of $20, members are entitled to a plot to grow non-invasive, legal vegetables and flowers. Members are free to bring their own tools but there is also a selection of tools in a shed on site.
Those who join the community garden are responsible for participating in at least two work parties per year to ensure the garden is well maintained.
A garden committee was formed this year and all members are encouraged to take part and schedule work parties throughout the growing season. Extra produce can be donated to the Squamish Helping Hands Society.
Those who are interested in renting a plot can contact Davis at 604-892-1535.