Thetis Island Community Garden started taking shape In the spring
of 2010. A group of garden and community enthusiasts began to put
like-minded thought into action, researching funding sources and
options for establishing a small community garden on Thetis Island
and engaging in discussion with the Thetis Island Community
Association (TICA) executive about the possibility of locating the
garden at Forbes Community Hall. A survey was put to the community
which established that there was significant interest and support
from the island at large. The location at the community hall was
confirmed and funding secured through a Union of BC Municipalities
grant distributed through the Islands Trust to initiate the project.
The UBCM grant was specifically targeted at garden projects with an
intergenerational focus, which is one of the primary goals of the
Thetis Island community garden committee.
The consideration of a relatively long-term project such as this at Forbes hall obviously involved addressing potential concerns about the garden. TICA's foremost concerns have been regarding what kind of structure will be in place to meet on-going maintenance needs, especially if involvement waxes and wanes over time. The potential for periodic lack of participation is factored into the garden design, with infrastructure (automatic irrigation, deer protection) in place so that even if each bed doesn't have it's own “gardener” responsible for it on an on-going basis, it would be simple to plant up with perennial herbs, vegetables, and/or flowers for community enjoyment. Square foot and perma-cultural planting schemes keep weeds in check, and these types of beds require very little on-going maintenance.
The initial development of this project has a designated coordinator. This position will ensure that work sessions can be planned in harmony with other events going at the hall, and that there will be a specific person responsible for communication and organization of workshops and sessions. The coordinator will also be responsible for insuring that the intergenerational focus of this project is fulfilled by developing and liaising with school staff and community members involved in programs that meet this criteria.
As the core group of gardeners takes shape, active participants will decide how to share bed space that is not earmarked for school and community projects. As is standard practice for community gardens everywhere, participants who would like their own beds will be expected to sign an agreement for keeping them maintained as well as respectful use of shared tools and equipment, and will be expected to contribute financially for materials and on-going costs. There will be a general coordinator, rotating among core gardeners, who will be responsible for communication with TICA and participants. Active participants will develop a system of payment to or trade with the coordinator or a fellow gardener if they must be away or for some reason can't keep up with the standards set by the community.