Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Council,
I would first like to thank you for the very important Greenest City Program that your government has recently initiated. The many important strategies and actions outlined in this program are critically important in helping to move our city towards a necessarily more ecologically sustainable future.
While I applaud your work on this initiative, I am writing on behalf of the Grandview Woodland Food Connection to express our concern over the proposed Malkin Street Connector and the very real potential of this redevelopment negatively impacting the Cottonwood and Strathcona Community Gardens. We are a community food network dedicated to supporting opportunities for community residents to build their skills and knowledge to grow their own food as well as improving resident’s access to healthy fresh food, so the possibility of these gardens being paved over is very worrying. These are without question two of the most important community gardens in North America in terms of their size, urban biodiversity, food production, and educational space. Few cities in North America can brag of having such places and these gardens should be regarded as urban treasures prioritized as essential urban green space for the above-mentioned reasons.
The Grandview Woodland Food Connection regards community gardens as foundational programs in building food secure communities and we have helped to establish a number of successful food gardens in the Grandview Woodland neighbourhood. We are currently working with Britannia Secondary to create new school food gardens and regard Cottonwood Community Gardens as sister learning spaces for the students who we are working with. We visit Cottonwood and Strathcona Gardens and have a close working relationship with the Environmental Youth Alliance who maintain a youth garden at Cottonwoods that also provides educational opportunities for youth, some of whom have included Britannia students. Many students are amazed when they see these gardens, which offer a multitude of teaching opportunities.
The City is about to release its new and eagerly anticipated urban food strategy. We expect that this strategy will include the continued support and expansion of community gardens and urban agriculture opportunities in Vancouver. Both Cottonwood and Strathcona Gardens exemplify the best of urban food gardens. Maintaining these gardens in-situ must be given priority over road expansion if the City is truly committed to building a green city that supports the improved health of its citizens and natural ecosystems.
Thanks you for your consideration and we look forward to a positive outcome for these gardens.
Community Food Developer, Grandview Woodland Food Connection
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