The long-standing Agassiz Harrison Community Garden (AHCG) is on the hunt for a new home after 15 years at its location on Pioneer Avenue.
In a delegation to Kent council in August, Agassiz Community Gardens Society (ACGS) president Laurens van Vliet said land housing the organization’s 60 garden plots had been sold by the private owner, with a closing date of Oct. 15, 2018.
The garden was one of the largest of its kind in the province, with 60 20 X 20-foot plots, over 60 members and a low annual fee of $25 per plot.
van Vliet said the garden’s value to the community can’t be overstated.
“It’s really a part of a healthy lifestyle, it’s part of being active,” he said. “People find a social community there and make friends, especially people who are new in town.”
The garden is home to a pumpkin patch for the District’s Variety Play Program, a potato growing program called Spuds in Tubs for Seabird Island Community School students and is a popular stop on the yearly Agassiz Farm Cycle Tour.
The garden also features four raised beds for physically challenged gardeners and encourages all growers to donate excess produce to the local food bank.
While there were some promising leads shortly after the August delegation, the garden is still in need of a permanent home and ACGS is working with the District of Kent to explore options available.
van Vliet said they are looking for a long-term home with at least a 10-year lease, preferably on institutional or government land.
“We don’t want to be back on private land and then we are back in the same position,” he said. “The District is exploring certain properties that have potential.”
The District is also providing temporary storage for the garden’s shed, picnic table, tools and other supplies until a new location is secured.
The community garden needs about 1.5 acres – one acre for the plots and a half acre for parking and storage. It’s important the land has fertile soil, good drainage and is easily accessible.
van Vliet said it would be ideal to have land by early 2019, so – weather-abiding – they can start preparing for spring and summer gardens.