For my NSG I held two in-person workshops. One was a Vertical Pop Bottle Garden Tower Workshop on June 1st for my neighbours the women at the Aboriginal Mothers Center Society (AMCS) and Pacific Association of First Nations Women. There were 10 of us in total. The other was a Burlap Sack Gardening Workshop held for 7 people on June 5th at Wall St. Community Garden for my neighbours who mostly came from the nearby buildings including Cannery Row and the BC Housing complexes.

At the pop bottle workshop, we sat in a large circle in Oxford Park on Wall St. to construct our towers. Each woman had a little station with all the materials handy like compost, potting soil, utility knife, seedings, stones and bottles.

Each person made a 3 bottle tall tower and could choose from many different types of herbs like basil, dill, oregano and shallow rooted veggies like lettuce, bok choi and baby swiss chard.

Now that I know all the women, when I pass them on the street or see them at the park, they tell me how their towers are doing and it sounds like this little workshop sparked a newfound interest in gardening for a lot of them!

At the burlap sack garden workshop, it downpoured a coastal torrent that day and was quite chilly for a “Junuary” afternoon but that didn’t stop 7 neighbours from creating 4 sack gardens plus 1 potato sack garden and even planted lettuce in a couple wooden posts!

We filled our vertical sack gardens with various types of lettuce, marigolds, bok choi, colourful swiss chard, 3 types of kale, english cucumbers, black beauty zuchnini, basil, oregano, mint, nasturtiums, purple pole beans and garlic chives.

I returned later when it was a little less rainy and posted a sign that directs people to online resources where they can learn to make their own sack if they missed the workshop. Many community members will benefit from the sack garden demonstration in front of Wall St. Community Garden which is on a very busy street near Cambridge Park, a popular dog and hangout park. I’ve already had people contact me wanting some help making their own so having the sign there is really helpful!

The food in the sacks will continue to grow well into next spring and is free for anybody to come harvest from. Once spring arrives, the bottom of the biodegradable sacks will have disintegrated and most veggies will be at the end of their life cycle so I will empty the sacks, use what’s left of the sack as mulch or compost it and recycle the soil into new sacks next year!

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