>> Edie Irons

Spring is here, and after a lively and positive community forum about Spring Ridge Commons last fall, an action-oriented public meeting coming up on April 28th, 2015 will provide opportunities to get involved with this historic and important space.

Spring Ridge Commons, located on Chambers St. between Gladstone and Pembroke, is the oldest community food forest and permaculture garden on Vancouver Island, and one of the oldest in North America. It is widely regarded as an invaluable community resource, but maintaining it as a beautiful, safe, and open space for all to use and enjoy has proved challenging at times.

New volunteers are bringing a welcome infusion of energy and organization to Spring Ridge, and the upcoming meeting will kick off a new era for the Commons.

Strong Community Support

Last September, more than 60 people showed up at a public forum convened by Fernwood NRG to share their views about recent happenings at Spring Ridge Commons, and visions for the future.

That meeting was overwhelmingly positive and constructive. In spite of a recent lapse in volunteer-driven maintenance, the vast majority of participants voiced their support and respect for the garden as a community resource where anyone can spend time, harvest food, learn about sustainable ecological practices, and connect to the living earth.

But the question remains: how to harness this community support and ensure a sustainable future for Spring Ridge Commons?

Turning Vision into Action

A group of community members including farmers, teachers, land stewards, and neighbours has come together to answer the above question and plan for the future of the Commons, based on the feedback gathered at the September meeting.

They are now are inviting anyone with energy to contribute to the long-term health and viability of Spring Ridge Commons — be it in the form of weeding, fundraising, permaculture design, or volunteer management — to come to the meeting on April 28 to help turn that vision into action. All are welcome to attend, even if you are not yet sure how you want to help.

The meeting will provide ways to get involved and help shape the future of Spring Ridge Commons. It will be held at the Fernwood Community Centre in the gym on April 28 at 7:00pm. Light refreshments and tea from the garden will be served.

Appreciating the Commons

As spring arrives and new life returns to the garden, consider taking a stroll through Spring Ridge Commons sometime soon. Many of the plants there are edible or have medicinal purposes — feel free to forage!

Every Sunday afternoon folks come to “Bee in the Garden,” to work or share tea and good company. Take a detour through Spring Ridge Commons any time to sit quietly in nature, have a conversation with a friend or a stranger, pull up some invasive grass, or just observe the new growth on the old fruit trees.

If you like it there, please consider coming to the public meeting on April 28th at 7:00pm, or find updates on the Spring Ridge Commons Facebook page, or springridgecommons.ca.