Last week I read with interest the story in our local paper about the hiring of a consultant to come up with a plan to keep local business thriving. You see, we are about to get a huge mega shopping center in the next two years with a store like Walmart as the key anchor. The community is worried about losing business to this mega giant of a chain. It’s interesting as I remember too well how worried Save On Foods was when Walmart came on the grocery scene years ago. Yes, there was a time when Walmart didn’t exist here. Now its common to see them in bustling communities. Have they impacted Save On Foods business? Not really. Has it hurt the smaller businesses? Yes, in some cases it has. So what can we do as a community to promote local business?
But wait, I have an idea. I will let you ponder this one and let me know what you think. About six months ago, I watched a very inspiring ted talk by Pam Warhurst. Pam Warhurst started the Incredible Edible Project in Todmorden , England, a small town like ours. I will attach a clip of it for your viewing pleasure. I watched and listened as she showed photos of what her volunteers had done. I thought to myself, could we replicate this in our community? Could we bring people to our town and shops this way? Why not?
I agree with Pam that we all talk and center our conversations around food. I like to frequent the local cafes and join a friend or parent for conversation. We all do. Imagine how people would stop to look at food planters and wonder what happened. It could create conversation. So many people have never seen how food grows. Did you know the most asked question at the community garden is what is that plant as people refer to brussel sprouts. Yes, many have no idea how food grows. This is our chance to show them and help our local businesses.
So here are my thoughts. We start small by installing a few planters about town. They need to be raised because dogs, need I say more. We need to form a committee of volunteers to get this off the ground. It’s not hard. I did the same thing when starting the Ladner Community Garden. We need people who love this idea, love gardening or have a business in town.
Where do we start? Perhaps we can start by using one of the city planters, just one at first. Lets plant it with rhubarb in the center followed by a display of lettuce and early season crops. In summer, this can be followed by potatoes or tomatoes. Just look at the flowers above and tell me they aren’t pretty.
Will it look good is what some people will say? To them I say, why wouldn’t it? Done right, the planters will be amazing. As I think about all the wasted space along Chisholm street that could be used to grow food and flowers, why aren’t we?
We could plant a large herb container in front of the kitchen store. It only makes sense. How about a tea plant with herbs near Stir House coffee? A pizza garden could be planted by Vagellis. Imagine a planter loaded with fresh ripe tomatoes, surrounded by basil and peppers. The ideas are endless.
Sure, some of the food may be taken but perhaps this is our way to help the less fortunate. One thing I know is this. I don’t know of any other community doing this in BC. Why not be the first? What have we got to lose? Its cheaper than hiring a consultant. We could start small and grow our project. We could produce a food map for Delta. The map could be used by tourists to bring them to see our village. So tell me what you think.