The lawn diggers of UVic finally released a set of demands (PDF). Do these things or the lawn gets it. Oh, wait…
What exactly do they want? The first and most logical demand is for new community garden space, preferably smack in the middle of campus. They also want a giant educational farm, 15 acres be exact. Their suggested location: Cedar Hill X Rd. lands. Given the lands were once a farm and still have fruit trees, these ideas seem fairly reasonable so far.
Still in the reasonable category is the idea of more fruit trees on campus, to take advantage of Victoria’s Mediterranean-like climate. It is their time-frame and scale I quibble with: 500 trees in five years. Trees take a decade or more to mature. Simpler would be to change (or subvert, depending on your worldview) UVic’s natural tree replacement and addition programs. The only work needed now revising whatever plan already exists.
And now we get to the insane. A department of agriculture? With 6 full time faculty? Aside from the small matter that UVic seriously lacks office and classroom space for its existing courses — let alone a brand new department — where is the money going to come from? What are they going to teach? And more cynically, what kind of monetization is possible? So I say: get thyself to UBC. They are BC’s agriculture specialists. Have been for a long time. No need to duplicate that.
The rest are a wash. Ten acres of ethnobotanical gardens? A LEED certified building? A food harvest festival? Interesting and not impossible.
Surprisingly, the garden in question is still in existence as of today. Like the rabbit problem, I suspect the university will wait for the summer to deal with it. Less students to chain themselves to bulldozers/live-traps that way.
If all this digging has prompted one good thing, it is that students are talking about community gardens, most of them for the first time. Whether or not that is a good thing is a matter of debate, like I had with a fellow student yesterday. Maybe something will come of this. After all, the reasonable community gardens group can play good cop: “Well, you could be dealing with them…”
3 thoughts on “Guerrilla gardeners ask for the moon”
15 acres can host a lot of trees, a lot more than 500. Also the dwarf root stocks used these days are in full production in four years.
15 acres of apple trees should be able to raise 150 tonnes of apples a year by year four
I believe the 15 acres they are asking for is in addition to the fruit trees they want, but adding them to the existing orchard at Cedar Hill X Rd would probably make sense and leave space for people to run their dogs.