Time to break out the gardening gloves and spade — 2022 is the Year of the Garden in Red Deer.
The city is celebrating community gardening efforts in partnership with the Canadian Garden Council, and is working with local groups to give Red Deerians opportunities to learn about gardening, food production, landscaping, green spaces and more.
Mayor Ken Johnston, who put forward the idea to city council last year, said the benefit of gardening is that everyone can participate.
“I was just so happy we got behind it. This really has the potential to engage virtually everyone. You don’t need a big backyard to garden. You can get some planters for your condo or apartment. People don’t need to invest a lot,” Johnston said.
He said that just walking through city neighbourhoods, it is clear to see that many Red Deerians already take pride in their yards. Some come from farm families who have maintained their connection to the soil, and others are new who will find that gardening will find it’s a good way to get some exercise as well as reduce stress levels.
“There’s joy in gardening I don’t think you can find anywhere else,” Johnston said.
A calendar of Year of the Garden activities and events is available at reddeer.ca, along with information on rebate programs. Information on the website will be updated regularly so people are encouraged to visit the site often.
Phil Boehme, community development co-ordinator for environmental initiatives with the city, said the City of Red Deer and Red Deer County were the first municipalities in Alberta to join the Year of the Garden campaign.
In addition to planting their gardens, watering, weeding and harvesting, residents are encouraged to get out and visit the many parks and green spaces in the city this year.
“They don’t have to go too far to really enjoy some great outdoor spaces. In Red Deer, we’re blessed with so many of these beautiful areas. (Year of the Garden) was an opportunity to recognize those and just celebrate them,” Boehme said.
He said local groups have really gotten on board to promote the Year of the Garden, collaborate, celebrate the city’s natural resources, and build on what exists.
“This is kind of taking on a life of its own that will likely go beyond this year.”