DIGA offers accessible plots at community gardens for people that do not have gardening space where they live. We are currently gardening at Pandora Park and Pearson Community Gardens, which have raised beds and wheelchair-accessible pathways.
Over the past year, eight clients, assisted by three volunteers, have grown a variety of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers in the raised beds at Pandora. There are three participants at Pearson - for the second year.
Those who would like to join us at either Pandora or Pearson gardens should contact us to request some space, either for this season or next year. Pandora Park is at Nanaimo and East Hastings, and Pearson Community Gardens is on 57th Avenue in Vancouver.
The gardening is in raised beds to make it accessible from a wheelchair or scooter, and volunteers are on hand to help with weeding, thinning out and harvesting, whilst providing support, encouragement and advice.
DIGA's sister group, the Tetra Society of North America, can provide – free of charge! – garden tools that are custom made for people with disabilities.
“Pandora Garden exemplifies what a community garden should be,” says DIGA member Barry Londry. “Every time I go there I talk to at least one and usually several people.
“They are genuinely interested in what we are doing and many have said they will water things for us if it looks like they need it. That’s what a community garden should be. A community helping out and taking an interest in each other.”
Pearson participant Nicole Lee said: “It's a wonderful idea to build all those raised beds and the sprinkling system. It makes gardening so much easier for people with special needs. I wear a brace and I have problem staying in a bending position but I have no difficulty tending to the plants in the raised beds.
“We've grown a large variety of plants in an area of just about three mahjong tables but the harvest was great. We've got plenty of peas, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, carrots. . .etc. It's so true that the plants you grow taste better, and there's so much fun in the entire process of watching what you've planted grow.”