By Anne Draper

Welcome to the James Bay Michigan Street Allotment Garden located on the edge of a large parking lot that borders on Menzies and Superior. A small plot of land that contains twenty some individual raised gardens and a native plant communal area. You will find a driftwood fence complimented by a raspberry hedge, with a small Cob Hut that serves as a secure storage shed. The unique hut has a roof of greenery and was constructed by a group of James Bay Community volunteers some fourteen years ago. Wood trusses, chicken wire, clay and cement are the basic building materials used for the low budget building.

Gardening enthusiasts approached Life Cycles Project Society in 1999 and together with BC Buildings Corporation who provided the space began a community garden project with a five hundred dollar budget. Three months later, the garden became a place for neighbours to socialize and grow their food and flowers. Members needed to agree to organize details and volunteer work hours in order for the garden to be useful, productive and an esthetic asset all year round. For example: volunteers are required to meet regularly, water and weed by hand, use organic fertilizing methods, compost, harvest and share surplus produce with their community. Today's gardeners understand the fundamental issue throughout human history that continues to exist in society: "Access to Land to Grow Food".

Michigan Street Allotment Garden, now in its fourteenth season is a priceless addition to the ambience and environment of the James Bay Neighbourhood. A garden filled with spring, summer and winter vegetables, rotated by eager volunteers in each garden bed. Surplus produce is shared with New Horizons Society and James Bay Community Project and friendly garden tips with interested visitors strolling around the neighbourhood. A small plot of Urban Land filled with wild roses, salmon berries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, elderberry, Oregon grape, dogwood, comfrey, lemon verbena, mint, parsley, rosemary, horseradish, rhubarb, yarrow, stinging nettle, lavender and mallow that command all corners. Sunflowers, dahlias and nasturtiums add to the colour scheme. Victoria Carriage Tours provide free organic fertilizer on demand!

A well cared for community garden and environmental asset asks for our neighbourhood support in planning the future location of Michigan Street Allotment Garden. We are an Urban source of local organic food and flowers created and used by people from all walks of life who take the time to interact in a positive social setting in our City of Gardens.

Note: "The City of Victoria encourages community gardening by collaborating with existing non-profit groups in the development of community gardens". For more information go to .