A modified Community Garden Plot Program will run in Red Deer this year after further consultation with Alberta Health Services and an in depth review of program options. The City of Red Deer has decided to reinstate the program for 2020, but in a modified way to maintain resident and employee safety.
“The City’s Emergency Operation’s Centre continues to make the best decisions possible, based on the information we have at the time,” Karen Mann, Emergency Operations Centre Director. “The decision to revisit the closure of community garden plots stemmed from conversations taking place across the province about community gardens. Upon further review with Alberta Health Services and our operational departments, we determined we could reinstate the program in a modified way, putting measures in place to help ensure the health and safety of all program participants and employees.”
Here is what the 2020 hybrid community garden plot program will look like:
- The City will allow community garden plots to open this year – with the commitment and enforcement that users will adhere to all public health orders and practice physical (social) distancing, sanitization of tools, and employ proper hygiene.
- The City will allow only returning garden plot users (previously registered in 2019), to return.
- No new registrations will be accepted for the 2020 program.
“This approach will allow up to 151 gardeners to return to the Red Deer Garden Plot Program and will empower community groups to operate their 152 garden boxes, if they choose,” said Mann. “This means retaining over 300 garden plots in our community.”
On March 25, The City of Red Deer made the difficult decision to close City recreation facilities and amenities until June 30. This list of closures included The City’s Garden Plot Program. This was done in an effort to prevent spread of COVID-19 in our community and, at the time, was in alignment with direction from Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
The decision was made due to the densities of City-run gardens and parking areas, and knowing it would be difficult to ensure that all gardeners follow all necessary regulations regarding physical distancing. As well, some of the plots are run by multiple families and tools are often shared.
The Government of Alberta has not formally declared community garden plots an essential service; however, with the City’s modified approach, public health orders and physical distance can be achieved with the cooperation of garden plot users.
“We thank Red Deerians for their understanding and patience during these unprecedented, and ever evolving times,” said Mann. “We always carefully monitor our current situation and follow direction from Alberta Health Services. Any decisions we make are made with the safety of our residents and our employees at top of mind, and we are prepared to adjust our approach as new information is available.”
Returning garden plot users who were previously registered in 2019 will be contacted directly by The City of Red Deer Parks department with details for the 2020 program, and restrictions that need to be followed.
For frequently asked questions about the modified Garden Plot Program, please see the Garden Plots FAQ (pdf) .
For more information, please contact:
Communications and Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer