Over Fifteen years ago, Spring Ridge Commons, a community urban food forest / permaculture garden near the Victoria downtown core, was an empty lot. Now, it is a lush space where people can meet and anyone can pick food. However, it faces the challenge of how to continue operating sustainably, given that it runs on volunteer energy, which waxes and wanes and is informally organized. In two classes taught by Amy Zidulka, business students in the BBA and MBA programs are using Creative Problem Solving and Design Thinking to dive deeply into the nuances of this urban agricultural space, and offer insights and recommendations. Students have heard many perspectives, including those of neighbours, garden volunteers and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, so that they can best advise Lee Herrin, whose organization, the Fernwood NRG, holds the lease to the site.
Sharing Your Perspectives on Spring Ridge Commons
Amy Zidulka and Will Low, are professors from Royal Roads University who are seeking different perspectives on Spring Ridge Commons, that will allow students to think critically and creatively about sustainability issues, including issues of urban agriculture, how space is used within communities, and what different people consider a good use of community space. Their goal is for students to be able to fully appreciate the perspectives of as many people as possible, including the stewards and users of Spring Ridge Commons, its neighbours, and its lease holder.
We are therefore seeking your perspectives. There are two ways you might participate:
- Contact Amy Zidulka and she will set up a time to interview you: firstname.lastname@example.org . Interviews will take between 15 and 45 minutes. They will be videoed and edited, and you will have the chance to see and approve (or not) the edited video, before it is shown to students.
- Create a short video or write a message that addresses some or all of these questions. Send your response to Linda Chan at email@example.com, and she will post publicly on the Spring Ridge Commons website:
- Attend Bee in the Garden on Sunday, October 18th from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for tea and conversation on the below topics. More about Bee in the Garden: http://springridge.rd123.ca/?p=894
How do you use Spring Ridge Commons?
What does Spring Ridge Commons bring to you?
What would be lost if it were not here?
What are your concerns about Spring Ridge Commons?
Imagine five years into the future. In your ideal future, what would be the same and what would be different about Spring Ridge Commons?
Coordinator, Spring Ridge Commons
Your Responses will be posted on this page!
Beautiful green spaces have become almost obsolete in Victoria – – we need places to wander on paths – through the flowers and the edibles – to nibble a berry and to feel ourselves moving in a flow between two streets . . . thank you Spring Ridge for being there and being there and staying there – for the bees and the trees and us 2 leggeds also. — Ann Jacob – Spring Ridge Commons Facebook Comment Sept 12, 2015
Spring Ridge Commons is a shining example of what every neighbourhood could and in our opinion should strive for. A forest of food available for anyone in the community to eat and share space together, learn and play.
In today’s changing world there are a rather large growing number of reasons to protect and replicate these spaces, learning and adjusting as we go.
Many thanks to all involved and to those who have and continue to support the commons with a great amount of time and energy. The food forest you steward was a big portion of the spark that inspired the creation of Edible Living Landscapes.— Josh Wagler, Nick Poeta and Marc Demontigny, Edible Living Landscapes – Spring Ridge Commons Facebook Comment Sept 30, 2015
I want to point out that what we have with Spring Ridge Commons is not only something what many cities would literally drool over, are trying to figure out how to do, it is one of the boldest examples, ahead of its time, I know of anywhere in the entire region. It is really a special space in those regards. —Mike Simpson, Permaculture Design Teacher – Spring Ridge Commons Public Meeting Sept 2014
I have loved Spring Ridge Commons for years and was glad to introduce the gardens to my son over the last two summers-he ran around, down the paths, over the small slopes the entire time, stopping only to smell the flowers:) The existence of such a garden is key to a modern community in my opinion-it motivates, inspires and teaches people how to do this in their own small, and larger spaces. It also creates a natural gathering space in a increasingly urban world. — Anna Parkes, Facebook Posting in Victoria Permaculture, Nov 23, 2015
Invited to Spring Ridge Commons this a.m. and want to share how impressed I am with it’s appearance and energy! Linda Chan and her community members have done an amazing job. It’s quite a different experience and the best testament to this is that regulars walking through the garden commented on how well it is looking and that they notice the effort that has gone into it! If you haven’t been by lately take time over the holidays to check it out! There are some surprises to check out. — Renee Lindstrom, Facebook Posting Dec 18, 2015
In 2015 I have noticed a significant change in the appearance and experience in Spring Ridge Commons on the corners of Chambers & Gladstone in Fernwood. The pathways are becoming increasingly more beautiful and there is art appearing in harmony with the plantings. On each visit this year there have been groups of children running, playing or doing art along the pathways. This open community garden is increasingly becoming more enjoyable and making more sense as a community space. If you haven’t had a visit I would encourage you to do so and if you haven’t had a visit in a while, I would encourage you to re-visit and share back the changes you experience. I have to say two things caught my attention this year – the black bamboo and the art that is appearing. — Renee Lindstrom, Facebook Posting Dec 25, 2015
I walked through the Commons today, first time since last summer, and noticed how cared-for it looks. I loved the smell of xmas tree on the pathways too 🙂 Keep up the good work! — Katherine Muncaster, Facebook Posting Jan 8, 2016
An absolutely beautiful community garden. Even in the light drizzle today – maybe especially so – it felt peaceful, quiet and serene – and healthy. — CCC, On-line Geocache Log Posting Feb 11, 2016