Spring Ridge Commons is this relatively small space and my original intention was just to demonstrate possibilities … affect other people’s thinking, make an impression, show what’s possible
— Geoff Johnson, Originator *
Spring Ridge Commons is Canada`s oldest public food forest and Victoria’s largest public permaculture garden or community multi-layer food forest , located on a 1/2 acre city lot in Fernwood at the corner of Chambers and Gladstone. (Location Address is 1200 Gladstone Avenue. *P*) This premier site for small scale urban permaculture has been visited by over 20,000 people over the last 15+ years of being a living laboratory for food, medicine and functional plants. Spring Ridge Commons serves as a source of free food, a learning environment, a community space and most importantly a place of beauty, nature and solitude.
SRC Photo – May 2015
Spring Ridge Commons is an example of what is possible when you transform an under-utilized, marginal spaces ( a barren gravel lot) into a productive space both in terms of yields such as food and medicines and in terms of social yields such as experiences of beauty, nature and solitude, recreation, learning, a sense of belong through contribution to a common space and experimenting with new relationships to land and people.
SRC Photo – 1999 SRC Photo – May 2006
SRC Photo – Oct 2012 SRC Photo – May 2014
SRC Photo – Mar 2015 SRC Photo – Aug 2015
Designed as a freely assessible community open space/ permaculture demonstration site, Spring Ridge Common contains over 100 species of plants, many of which have food and/or medicinal value. Check out a map of the Common here.
At various points during the season, the garden produces strong yields of goumi, pie cherries, seabuckthorn, damson plums, medlars, and especially desert king figs. There are secondary yields of several more fruit species, as a well as a number of herbs. A home for many native birds (including hummingbirds) plus bees and other insects, the Common is intended to be a place where community members can meet, engage and grow on land held in common.
People are encouraged to enjoy the garden – pick berries, herbs, etc. or sit in a sunny spot watching the birds and the bees. Please consider others when you harvest. Take care to avoid damaging plants/trees and only take what you know you will use.
In cities in North America, we’re seeing food systems planning, urban agriculture planning in ways that I’ve never seen before. For example in Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and other cities in the Northwest, we are seeing urban action plans, food action plans, and at the cutting edge of urban food production is the idea of public commons, edible commons, food commons, food forest and 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.
— Mighk Simpson, Permaculture Design Teacher **
The Spring Ridge Commons is a successful example of how urban agriculture, inspired through community vision and hard work, can alter a landscape and the surrounding community, for the better.
— Katherine Allen, Student in University of Victoria Restoration of Natural Systems (RNS) department. ***
Spring Ridge Commons is more than just a communal space for people to harvest food; it is a place that creates opportunity for art, music, socialization and education. The Native Plant Garden in the Commons is a plot that has the potential of becoming an exuberant space, both aesthically and as a learning tool.
— UVic Environmental Studies, ES 341 Ecological Restoration students: Hannah Galloway, Nicole Goldring, Michael Li, Roleen Sevillena and Julia Warren ****
* Source of Quote: April Mallet’s Thesis, p. 52
** Source of Quote: Spring Ridge Commons Public Meeting Notes
*** Source of Quote: Spring Ridge Commons Restoration Proposal Prepared by Katherine Allen for Spring Ridge Commons January 2012, p. 4 1.0 Introduction.
**** Source of Quote: Spring Ridge Commons Native Plant Restoration Report Spring 2013, Cultural Context – p. 10
*P* Numerology: This address 1200 (1 + 2 + 0 + 0 = 3) inspires creativity, optimism, flexibility, and openness. An excellent address for artists and unconventional people. Equally well suited for singles or families. Older people tend to feel comfortable in this environment, while younger people are inspired to do something unique and creative. Probably the most up-beat of all addresses.