Work Parties

work party

Regular work parties were held where participants learned about caring for a permaculture garden in exchange for contributing labour to the site’s maintenance.  At times, these work parties were very well-attended (25+ people) and at other times, sparcely attended even to the point of no one other than the organizating steward showing up.

You get this sense of, it’s funny I think one of the ways I backed away was my whole belief about what’s possible with humanity got tied up with Spring Ridge Commons in a certain way. And so when we had a lot of people show up it was like ‘hey we can do this’ and then when people didn’t show up it was just like ‘we’re fucked.’

I remember when somebody stole the wheelbarrow, I just cried. I was just like ‘people can steal a wheelbarrow from a public commons, we’re totally done —Tamara

By giving of themselves to support the Spring Ridge Commons, stewards are enacting their vision of community. When this vision of community was validated, by the presence of others willing to do the same, their motivation and belief in the site’s potential were
bolstered.    Likewise, when this vision of community seemed unsupported stewards experienced disillusionment.   *** (1)

In more recent times (April 2012 to December 2013, Brent Howard, Professional Landscaper, who operates Garden Roots Landscape, a landscaping / gardening company with a sustainable and organic focus and President, Friends of the Spring Ridge Commons Society held monthly work parties at Spring Ridge Commons.  Past work party in 2010 + 2011 were led by Dan Miller, Tamara Schwartzentruber,  Ian Avery, and Ryan May.

Some of Our Notable Work Parties:

Global Work Party: 10/10/10 day of climate action at Spring Ridge Commons   (Oct 10, 2010)

 10-10-10 Work PartyTransition Victoria  Food Group hosted this work party at Spring Ridge Commons followed by qi gong with Tamara.  Geoff Johnson,  Originator and Driving Force behind Spring Ridge Commons was on site to offer his expertise and leadership.  This work party was well-attended with 20 + volunteers helping out.

This work party was the start of Transition Victoria Food Group’s activities at Spring Ridge Commons.

About Global Work Party:

On 10/10/10, people in 188 countries participated in over 7,000 climate-solution events as a part of‘s Global Work Party to show their politicians that they are willing to get to work on addressing climate change in their community, and want their governments to do the same.

Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350, brought us some of the first images streaming in from across the world, as people participated in the biggest day of environmental action in history on October 10.

From planting trees and picking up trash to installing solar panels and repairing bikes, countless groups came together to do their part in reducing their impact on the environment.


Integreen – Transition Victoria Work Party   (March 13, 2011):

This work party was co-led byTamara Schwartzentruber, a certified Permaculture Designer /Teacher and  Gardener and Dan Miller, a local gardener.  There were over 25 industrious and keen work party volunteers.

Activities / Tasks  at this Work Party included :  creation of a new interior paths, putting down wood chips and placing stones on outer edges to make the path more defined.  Sheet mulching of  trees and inoculating them with the mycelium of wine cap mushroom (provided by Geoff  –  Cornucopia Nursery).   Planting of  various types of heather (Much gratitude to Glendale Gardens and Woodland for their generous donation of heather plants)  and minnow narcisuss  (Thanks to Urban Oasis Garden Centre for giving us a substantial discount) plus dinoasaur + curly kales and  corn salad (  donated by Linda – James Bay Sustainability Commons) : Mycorrhizal fungi (provided by Tayler – Hatchet & Seed Contracting ) was applied  to the root  to help the plants capture water and minerals so that they grow more vigorously;   Seeding white clover: Libby mixed this with soil and sand to help spread it thinly and evenly (since there is a tendency to spread it too thick);  Cutting down pampas grass,  tall grass with kamas and digging out grass;

During the Work Party,  we took a break to be entertained by  Mike Edel, one of the performers who will be playing at the Integreen Action First Concert on   April 9th.  – He is awesome! More info: At 3:30 p.m. Tamara led us in a Qi Gong session.  There was also hot apple cider, tea, apple juice, cookies, bananas and fruit leather for refreshments /snacks.  (Apple juice and fruit leather  was donated by Lliam – Integreen- The Local Link and hot apple cider, tea, cookies and bananas provided by Linda and Dan.)


SocialCoast  100-Mile Potluck Picnic and Work Party with LifeCycles and Spring Ridge Commons  (July 25, 2012):

Spring Ridge Commons with Social Coast + LifeCyclesPlanting 101 with LifeCycles

Bee-Friendly Plants via LifeCycles Pollinator Program

Bees work their butts off all summer… pollinating our flowers and our crops, and making delicious honey…… SocialCoast hosted a 100-Mile Potluck Picnic and Work Party in cooperation with LifeCycles and Spring Ridge Commons!

Before and after dinner, volunteers painted some plant identification signs, planted a few new food plants and created a new bee friendly garden.

Southern Vancouver Island Permabliz:  For the Love of the Food Forest – Springridge Commons Spring Spruce Up Block Party!!    (June 7, 2014 – June 8, 2014)

Josh Wagler and Nick Poeta








Josh Wagler and Nick Poeta

Springridge Commons is a public Food Forest located in Fernwood. Enjoy a weekend of music, food, and working with the Earth and with your community in this beautiful garden at the heart of Fernwood. We will liven up one of the beating hearts of Fernwood and Canada’s oldest Food Forest. This is the beginning of a new seasonal cycle for regular community engaged “Care For The Commons” days each year. This event will focus on pruning and cleaning up the site. Experienced tree experts will be there to guide those wanting to learn and help but are not experienced in tree care. All skills and all ages invited, this food forest is yours, the people’s, let it bring us together and feed our bodies, minds and hearts.

***  Gratitude to April Mallett  for her research and interpretation of the Community Support at Spring Ridge Commons as part of her research study on how young people are participating in the Commons as part of her Thesis  towards an MA in Child and Youth Care at UVic. (2012).  Source of Quote:  p. 67


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