A growing interest in local food in Calgary and it’s trending as a movement in the redesign and reconnection of the urban landscape is more familiar than we may remember. The Calgary Vacant Lots Garden Club, 2,366 members gardening on 3,299 plots (one plot was about 25 ft x 120 ft) at its hey-day in 1943 was an indicator of such. The culmination of vacant lots, municipal support of its food system and a real estate bust were some of the factors that contributed to Calgarians resolve for growing food. A Google maps snapshot of this time would display how local food production was ubiquitous over 70 years ago. Also, during the same time, the Parks Department was cultivating about 200 acres around the General Hospital in Bridgeland to boot.
Why am I telling you about this? Collectively, across this city, many individuals, organizations, businesses & committees are working towards a host of solutions that will germinate the growth of our urban agriculture industry so that it is both a viable industry and integrated into the urban fabric. We are looking at rooftops, underutilized green spaces, brown spaces (peri-urban), aquaponics, demonstration planters in downtown, etc. These are all bright, necessary solutions for a local food production and consumption issue that address the multiple needs of a local food system. Yet, in the meantime, some small but profound actions require far less capital and planning: get more people gardening at home. In Calgary, there are over 40,000 acres of fertile land tucked away in our homes and communities. These are not vacant lots of the real-estate bust variety: these are a parts of a web of backyards, front yards and green spaces we drive by without thinking about everyday. What if we were to build tools to improve participation and know-how for casual gardeners to grow food here in the city? That is what Tinyplots aims to do.
Tinyplots is a tech-based startup that makes growing food simple. What tools are we building? A learning platform to make participation in local food systems a lot more beautiful and engaging.
The makings of the urban agriculture trend left us scratching our heads as to how to actually get more food production happening in the city. Calgarians are seeking out ways to produce food in beautiful settings on fertile grounds. From
2008 to 2012, private and public community gardens flourished from 12 to over 110 – nearly a ten-fold increase in 4
years. In all humble beginnings, we want to start small and with a garden…your new garden. We are launching our first course this spring called Intro to YYC Gardening. It is a 20 week course for new gardeners that walks you through the week by week essentials of vegetable gardening Calgary . We mix the online learning with hands-on workshops and events dotted around the city over the growing season. Consider it a guided learning workshop that offers up the most timely information as you progress through the weeks.
If you’ve never tried gardening, or have, and experienced some happy little failures in your first attempts, perhaps this growing season has more in store for you again. We would love have you be a part of an innovative and fun platform that will help you explore the possibilities of produce.