The PLOT is, without a doubt, proof that local food security is possible where land is available.
Each time Gro-Carts visits the PLOT, the corn is higher, the produce is bigger, and the variety of vegetables is greater. Brightly coloured round and oblong shapes appear along vines and beneath the garden’s foliage. Nutrition abounds.
This ever-changing, ever-growing piece of land is a community garden in the truest of senses: the work is shared, the land is shared, the harvest is shared. There are no demarcated sections, no signs warning: “Please don’t pick what you didn’t plant.” There is no “Mine”, only “Ours” — the “ours” that is the human community visiting the PLOT. No passport or visa control, no fence nor gate, no opening and closing hours. This fertile patch of land has produced, under the guidance of loving green-thumbed humans, a cornucopia of vegetables and fruit, free for the taking. The only caveat? Please pick only what is ready to be harvested.
At the end of July, Gro-Carts was privileged to be included in a PLOT celebration of community.
Medicine Wheel Ceremony: offering thanks at the four directional points of the PLOT’s medicine wheel
From the Medicine Wheel ceremony and smudging to the storytelling and craft-making, there were activities for all members of the community.
All those who wanted were invited to participate in a smudging at the Medicine Wheel
Above: Homemade bread and fresh produce from the PLOT were a delicious part of the community meal. Below: Live music ignited smiles and dancing feet.
Ample seating for everyone at the PLOT: from picnic tables and artful “sofas”, to simple bales of hay
Gro-Carts happens to be crazy about bees, so we were thrilled to see the open hive demonstration at the PLOT’s apiary.
Open House: hive on left opened for public demonstration
Taste Test: Onlookers got a fresh taste of honey, straight from the hive
The two active hives, donated and cared for by The Honeybee Centre, are in a protected bee garden, filled with bee-friendly plants from sponsors such as Hunters Garden Centre.
(For anyone interested in honey and honeybees, we recommend a visit to The Honeybee Centre, for anything from an educational bee session to a honey tasting. — And if you’re really into bees, check out Kwantlen Polytechnic’s Commercial Beekeeping Program: KPU is graduating its first certified commercial beekeepers this year. The next 11-month course starts in January 2017.)
Bee-friendly flowers help attract & nourish these fuzzy pollinators
At the PLOT apiary, Honeybee Centre volunteers offered several easy educational tips on how to help out honeybees in your neighbourhood. During a honeybee’s life cycle, it will be assigned different roles. The role of foraging for water is of vital importance. However, collecting water for the hive can be a life-threatening experience. Many bees drown attempting to complete this task. This may be one reason you have found dead bees in an outdoor swimming pool. Bees cannot land directly on the water. To drink safely, a bee needs a safe perch floating on the water. This way it can land, drink, and fly safely back to the hive. The Honeybee Centre recommends ensuring there are bits of twigs or leaves in your birdbath, water fountain, or even in a shallow dish of water on your patio. This will offer visiting water foragers a safe spot to carry out their important work.
Mid-August, Gro-Carts visited the PLOT once again to see what the bees were up to. We were also pleased to introduce our own Guerrilla Gardener to some of the PLOTters, and to show off the food that can be grown on a slice of unused land.
The PLOT is filled with stories; one has only to look. These critters are the guardians of Balla’s newest addition to the PLOT.
Among the new additions to the garden was Balla’s monument to the reconstruction of Fort McMurray.
Balla, one of the PLOT’s stalwart volunteer gardeners, showed off some of the PLOT’s most beautiful and unique (or “ugly”) vegetables. Gro-Carts was pleased to use these to promote the #UglyFood campaign spearheaded by the people at Ugly Fruit & Veg.
Gro-Carts encourages anyone passing through Newton to visit the PLOT. We challenge you to count (and identify) the types of vegetables and fruit growing there.
As the PLOT welcome sign indicates, it is a “Sharing Garden”, so feel free to harvest whatever you can eat — as long as it’s ready to be picked. While you’re there, please say hello to PLOT-cart, stationed in its own parking spot by the entrance to the PLOT.
PLOT a path to this community garden, by foot, by bike, or by bus
Don’t know how to find the PLOT? It’s located behind the Newton Exchange bus loop, by the Newton Wave Pool/Newton Recreation Centre.
So close, and yet… This lonely cart was abandoned by the road just metres from the PLOT, where it could have made new friends (PLOT-cart), and learned to grow food for the footed members of the community