The clock is ticking for Grow Calgary, Canada’s largest community farm, as the province moves forward with construction of the west leg of Calgary’s ring road.
The Alberta government gave the farm until Jan. 31 to leave the property, but Grow Calgary organizers are still pushing to operate on the land, even during road construction.
Paul Hughes, the founder of Grow Calgary, said communication between the farm and the province has not gone well.
Grow Calgary is on two pieces of land: the Transportation/Utility Corridor (TUC) and a piece of surplus property.
The TUC is owned by the province and was leased to Grow Calgary. The TUC is also where the ring road will be built, expanding south into what was the lower part of the farm.
Hughes said he and his crew vacated the TUC days after the province asked them to and they moved equipment to the surplus portion.
Online plans for the project show a proposed service road cutting through the surplus land.
Hughes pointed out that while the proposed road detours around the Calgary Climbing Centre and the New Victory Church, it goes straight through the farm.
“We have a situation where we’re dealing with road builders and they are very focused on building their road,” Hughes said. “They’re not very concerned about a community farm that grows food and has programming for youth.”
In a statement to Global News, Alberta Infrastructure said the province is committed to completing the ring road and needs the land to do so.
“The design of the Calgary ring road will require nearly all of the land where the current Grow Calgary facilities are in operation,” it read.
A new area for relocation has been proposed but Grow Calgary said it would set the farm back years in terms of growth.
Hughes added that the farm has not committed to leaving yet and will be weighing their options.