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Community garden losing land

By in News

News Editor

One of the joys of summertime is the abundance of fresh garden vegetables.

Thanks to the many community gardens throughout the city, those without yard space are still able to grow their own.
But the future looks uncertain for the Nutana Community Garden. Their lease on the current location behind the Broadway Roastery is up this year, and the land has been slated for condo development.

“It’s not for certain,” said Mark Bobyn, president of the Nutana Community Association. “We’ve kind of been put on standby that it may be developed within the year. Originally we had four years, but last year we were told we were gone.”

Rumours began circulating mid-summer that the property owner, Ellen Remai, was considering delaying development and allowing residents another year to work the soil.

Bobyn attributes this to the current high costs of construction in Saskatoon. He said they will know if their stay has been extended by this fall.

Patrons of the Nutana Community Garden are hopeful they will get to stay where they are for now.

If the garden does move, Bobyn says it may end up on the grounds of Nutana Collegiate.

“We’ve been talking to the school board about it,” said Bobyn. “It would be part of the city’s park revitalization program.”

Bobyn says it is their best hope for a garden because they will have a water source put in. Water can make or break a garden, he says.

“Installing a water source can be somewhere around $30,000.”

Unfortunately, the new location would be smaller than the current 70-plot space. Bobyn says they already receive more applications than they have room for, so he encourages people to apply early for a space.

Bobyn is pleased by the strong community involvement in the garden.

“The garden has captured more attention in the past few years than any of our other projects,” he said.

“A garden is a social event. It connects us to agriculture and brings us closer to our own food.”

Peter Pfiefer, a local patron, can attest to that.

“I grew up on a farm so I have soil in my blood. See my hands?” he said, holding up his dirt-covered hands.

The elderly German-Canadian is eager to show off the plots he and his son have been working on. He even waters and weeds the plots of some others who have told him they are too busy to come out regularly, stopping on his way to chat with a group of gardeners harvesting cucumbers.

Pfiefer says he appreciates being able to grow his food here, since there is nowhere to do so at his nearby condo. You won’t find any flowers in his plot, though.

“There is a woman who lives in the building here. She asks me, ”˜Peter, why don’t you plant some flowers?’ I said, ”˜I am a man, I have no use for such things.’ ”

photo Raisa Pezderic

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