Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/6/2020 (297 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The usual pace of change at City Hall is very slow. However, the COVID-19 period has actually created something of a "can do" spirit for certain projects.
One of these is the new urban agriculture project at the St. Vital Arena. Where for many years there had been large planter boxes in front of the arena filled with gravel and weeds, there is a now a 630-square-foot ‘victory garden,’ planted with all sorts of vegetables, to be harvested later this year for "good food" boxes for area residents.
This project came together through a partnership of the Winnipeg Food Council (and its dynamic co-ordinator, Jeanette Sivilay), a team of volunteers to do planting, the St. Vital Minor Hockey Association (which operates the arena for the city), and Lawson Sales (Kubota). I provided some money from my city hall account to pay for soil.
The Food Council is a relatively new committee at City Hall. Owing to disruptions in regular food supply in the COVID period, the Food Council has been promoting the idea of more domestic food production. Mayor Bowman has also encouraged the "grow a row" program to increase food donations to Winnipeg Harvest.
The Food Council has been looking for opportunities to create "victory gardens", borrowing a term used to promote home gardening during the Second World War.
I suggested the St. Vital Arena planter boxes (credit here to my neighbour, Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud, who originally spotted this opportunity) on May 31 and the Food Council jumped into action. The Minor Hockey Association quickly agreed and is helping with water supply. Local business Lawson Sales (Kubota) helped out by removing gravel from the beds and adding soil. Jeanette Sivilay recruited a team of volunteers to do planting — and in under three weeks, the Meadowood Victory Garden emerged.
At the launch I stated "luckily for the public I did not plant anything, because I know nothing about gardening"— and this is extremely true but I do know a good community-based project when I see one.
On June 23, I actually did get involved with planting some veggies at the new City Hall Victory Garden. Hopefully others in the city will also consider staring a garden this year or next. Consider it a small part of the "victory" in the recovery from COVID-19.
St. Vital city council ward report
Brian Mayes is the city councillor for St. Vital.