Plenty to pick at Fort St. John community gardens

The community gardens tucked between the Church of the Resurrection and the Fort St. John Cemetery are among the city's well hidden gems. 

It's why the Northern Environmental Action Team threw a garden party on Wednesday, filled with music, food, beer, and carnival games to encourage more residents to share in the fruits of community-centred produce production.

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"They're really an underutilized resource in our community," said Karen Mason-Bennett, executive director. "People are interested about it, but don't necessarily know."

The gardens used to be run by the restorative justice society, but NEAT took over this year as it continues to focus its mandate on food security, building garden beds at local schools, and building a network to connect local producers with local consumers.

Most of the beds at the community garden are spoken for — call up NEAT to register, and you'll get your own red-coloured box of dirt to dig into, whether you want to grow tomatoes or nasturtiums. Since those red beds are private rentals, they're off-limits to picking by the public. "Picking is stealing," the signs warn. 

But, NEAT also has several green-coloured beds filled with peas and berries and more that are free for the picking. Even if you don't care to garden, drop by and enjoy the space, Mason-Bennett said.

"We're trying to make a garden where, if you don't want to grow your own food, you can still come," she said.

"It's a community space. It's an important space in the community."

Funds raised at the garden party on Aug. 14 went to support NEAT's food security programming.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at

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