Community Garden Frequently Asked Questions


How do I rent a bed in the Hawkwood Community Garden?

Currently, there are 18 beds available for rent for the September 2016-October 2017 garden season. To secure your garden bed, print and fill out this form, sign the contract, and return it with your cheque. Please note that you must have a valid HCA membership to rent a garden bed.

Where is the Hawkwood Garden located?

 The garden location is at the top of Hawkwood Hill on the unused baseball diamond between The Uplands, Village on the Park and Dreamview Village (behind the Hawkwood Village shopping mall).

Location of Hawkwood Community Garden

Location of Hawkwood Community Garden

Why is the site for the proposed garden on the Hawkwood Hill location? Is there another possible location?

The site for the community garden was chosen by Community and City of Calgary officials who compared other available sites in the neighbourhood, and deemed this location to be not only the best and most appropriate area, but also the only option due to underground water systems already in place.  The City is keen on re-purposing the unused baseball diamond into a more multi-use area that would be accessed by more residents.  This location also proved ideal because the garden project proposal is being combined with the City’s and neighbourhood’s plans for pathway expansion, as well as a general park improvement that will make the area more accessible, safer and fun for more residents year-round.  In addition, the site is centrally located in the community, close proximity to schools and senior citizens and sufficient parking is available.

Will the residents of Hawkwood be levied or charged money to pay for the project?

No, the community garden and park improvement project will be entirely funded through grants and government monies available for exactly these types of initiatives.  We will not seek a levy (property tax) from residents.  Any individuals and families who would like to make a donation or time, money or machinery for the build would be much appreciated.

Who wanted a community garden?

The community of Hawkwood did.  In 2014, the Hawkwood Community Association engaged the community in an effort called “Our Hawkwood” that solicited ideas from anyone in the community on what they would like to see in the community (click here to view the Our Hawkwood Community Plan).  A community garden was one of the top responses and so a Hawkwood Community Garden Committee was formed charged with the task of creating a community garden in Hawkwood.  Additionally, this site was selected as one of the top places to add pathways – specifically connecting The Uplands to Hawkwood Village (currently a dirt path)

Does the City of Calgary want a garden?

Actually, they do.  The Parks department has an unutilized ball diamond that is not being maintained and will eventually be removed at a cost to the taxpayer.  Other departments are excited by the fact that we want to install a rain garden and are willing to help us and study how we do.  Hawkwood continually demonstrates to the City that we can think outside of the box and actually be on the leading edge of programs that other communities benefit from – LEAF is a perfect example of this.

When would the project be complete?

Depending on the availability of funds and volunteer resources, the project will be built over 3 stages/seasons, beginning in the fall of 2016.

 

Will there be paved pathways leading to the garden?

Initially, no – there is not enough funding from the City to allow for the construction of paved pathways.  However, we are confident as the utilization of the garden increases, the demand for pathways will be such that they will be built eventually.

Is there a water source near the garden?

Yes, there is an irrigation system, that with some minor modifications, we will able to tap into the City’s water service.

What is a rain garden?

It is a type of garden with a deep rock bed underneath, made up of hardy perennials that are designed to absorb snow melt and spring rains into the ground and filter it into the natural water table.  This is a natural method of diverting waters in areas that flood in the spring time, and prevents the water from over running storm drains and from pooling and causing a mosquito haven.  Rain Gardens can be quite beautiful, and are a used by and supported by the City of Calgary.  The City is very supportive of our Rain Garden idea, as it will resolve the annual flooding of this public park making it more accessible, usable, and reduce mosquitos.

Is the garden wheelchair accessible?

Initially, no.  In a perfect world, there would be gentle sloping, smooth pathways making the garden accessible to everyone.  However, the slope of the land and the high cost associated with the paved pathways preclude us from having them installed right away.  But our goal is to make this a spot for people of all abilities to enjoy so our long-term plan is to make the garden site accessible to all.

What type of equipment will be used at the garden for construction?

During the initial phase large equipment such as a dump truck and track hoe (excavator) will be used to create the rain garden.  This equipment will be on site and operating only during allowable noise bylaw hours and for a short period of time (less than a week).  Also, a pick-up truck may be used to drop off or pick- up materials, but other than that, only hand-tools such as wheelbarrows and wagons will be used during the normal growing season.

Are community gardens sustainable?

Over the last 10 years in Calgary, hundreds of community gardens have been started, as well as urban farms and orchards.  This a trend towards sustainability and healthy communities for the future.  We hope to have many stakeholders in ours, including the local schools, the Crowfoot Library, seniors, youth and church groups.  Support will ebb and flow, but we are very positive that there will be great interest and support for many years and decades to come.

How will the garden and future maintenance be paid for?

The garden committee will apply for grants from the many organizations and companies that have special funds just for projects like this. We will also be working with the Hawkwood Community Association to help us manage our funds and will do community fundraising.

Who will cut the grass?

The City of Calgary will maintain the surrounding greenspace as they do today.

What will happen to the baseball diamond?

The site of the baseball diamond will house the garden plots in a lovely sea-shell shaped enclosure, making use of the current shale and fencing. The City is considering approval of the location and the change in the use for this part of the park because the diamond has not been rented for several years, casual baseball players rarely use the space if at all, and other areas for sports are located nearby. Of course people gathering to toss a ball around, go sledding, and go on walks will be always welcome in the park!

Current plan for Hawkwood Community Garden

Current plan for Hawkwood Community Garden

Won’t the garden interfere with sledding in the winter?

Where the garden is located is not generally used by kids in the winter for sledding or other winter activities.  In addition the garden is located far enough away from the natural slopes that there would be very little danger of anyone sledding in to the garden.

Will the garden plots use healthy soil?

 We plan to be an herbicide and pesticide free garden to keep our plants, veggies and environment healthy. We will get on the list to use City of Calgary compost for community gardens from leaf and pumpkin collection, as well as worms and purchased garden soil. The garden will also have its own composting system, and that will provide great quality soil year to year.

How will the garden manage compost?

Special staged compost boxes will be built for the garden where greens will be composted by a team of trained volunteers. The boxes keep animals away and usually have very little odor and make excellent earth. Some community gardens accept leaves in the fall from neighbors. The garden workshop will make use of composting workshops and resources, and the school communities will also be able to use the composting system for teaching the sustainability curriculum.

How will the Garden Committee manage vandalism?

We do not anticipate an increase in vandalism. There is a small amount of vandalism and graffiti happening in Hawkwood like many neighborhoods, and the committee hopes to engage children, youth, adults and seniors, all people who live, work, study and play in the neighborhood in the project. The more people that are engaged, and the more stakeholders taking part, the less vandalism will occur. The water system and tool shed can be made to be locked up, and we plan to make the garden a place for picnics, senior’s tea time, children’s story time, etc. as the more a community space is used, the less vandalism occurs.

How will the Garden deal with wildlife?

We are aware of the wildlife in Hawkwood, and will design responsibly and accordingly.  The site does not contain any rare or threatened species of any kind so there will be no disruption to the wildlife already living there.  The garden plots will be enclosed to keep hares out of the veggies and small animals out of the compost, and this has proven to work in many other Calgary community gardens. The local coyotes will likely show up now and then as they currently do, and all people especially those with children and dogs walk responsibly throughout the neighborhood.  The animals in the area will learn to adapt as they have for decades in Hawkwood.

Will my property value decrease?

Generally, no it will not decrease the value of anyone’s property.  For every person who thinks that the garden is an eyesore or leads to increased crime in their neighbourhood, there is probably at least another person who loves the idea of a garden close to their house and will really want to buy and live in Hawkwood.