At first, Deanne Mudd wasn’t sure what she’d do after a fire destroyed her Calgary rental property in April 2017.
Her tenants weren’t home at the time and there were no injuries, but the flames engulfed the house quickly, leaving no choice but to level it.
“Originally, I was going to move a 1912 house onto the lot,” Mudd said. “But in the end, the garden won out.”
The garden in question is a community garden on the lot in the Kensington area, just across the Bow River from downtown Calgary.
Many people who live along Mudd’s street pitched in to help transform the property after the fire.
“Eight or 10 of the neighbours came over with their wheelbarrows and shovels,” Mudd said. “So it’s really been a community space since the fire.”
Families have been enjoying getting out together and growing food in the garden.
“I planted radishes, spinach, lettuce, corn (and) peas,” eight-year-old Charlie Bruneau said.
The gardeners are grateful for the opportunity Mudd has created for them.
“I think it’s amazing, because we live in the middle of the city,” Priyanka Choudhary said. “It’s good for the kids to learn about the whole growing process and where the food actually comes from. That’s really valuable for them.”
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Seeing the kids working with their plants is a real highlight for Mudd.
“What’s most exciting is when they start picking food and eating it straight off the vines,” Mudd said. “It’s really fun for me. I think I get more enjoyment out of watching them garden than actually gardening itself.”
The more they learn, the more enthused the young gardeners are about growing their own food.
“If I plant a carrot in here, from carrot seeds, it’ll taste different than if I buy it from the store,” nine-year-old Thorsten Setrakov said. “If you don’t have a garden, I think you should get one.”