Kids encouraged to start growing their own front-yard gardens

The fifth annual municipal garden contest is underway.

(From left) Zoe Koehn

(From left) Zoe Koehn

Your front yard doesn’t have to be just for decoration, a place to impress your neighbours with your lawnmowing skill or weeding techniques.

Your front yard can also be used to provide your next meal, when that space is used to grow fruits and vegetables.

A few people have been trying to show that for the past four years in the District of Maple Ridge’s Front Yard Food Garden Contest.

The contest is now in its fifth year, and if you enter, the odds are with you.

Only three entries came in last year, said Diana Hall, planner with the District of Maple Ridge, so people entering one of three categories, depending on lot size, will have a good chance of winning one of the $25 gift certificates from the Haney Farmer’s Market.

Hall said the goal is to encourage people to use their front yards to grow their own food and develop an appreciation of where our food comes from.

But that doesn’t mean a veggie garden is an excuse to turn your front yard into a mess.

“It has to have a good design to it,” Hall said.

Entries will also be judged by quantity and variety of food grown, the gardening practices and health of plants.

Hall said that making the front yard a place to grow vegetables makes everyone who passes by aware of local food production. It also helps build a sense of community by giving people something to talk about.

She has her own front-yard garden in Burnaby and grows tomatoes, beans and has a few apple trees. She’ll also try kale and may plant a few blueberry bushes, not only for the berries but because the shrubs, look nice.

This year, the contest coincides with another effort to get more people growing.

Thanks to the More Peas Please project, families with young children can get a free kickstart to growing a garden.

Volunteers will visit families armed with seeds, soil and watering cans and help parents and the kids locate a space for a garden and get young plants growing.

“Almost everyone I know had a garden growing up, but throwing in a few seeds as a kid and preparing the whole thing from scratch are two totally different things,” says Leanne Koehn, one of the project coordinators.

“We’re starting with up to 25 families from Glenwood elementary and Hammond elementary,” said Richard Farrance, coordinator.

“The intention is to make it easy for the family to start a garden and hopefully they will want to continue or expand it the following year.”

Two members of the volunteer team will be able to give good advice. Tanis Green is a gardener from Green Plant Care and Catherine Skoro is a landscaper at Swan-e-Set Bay Resort and Country Club.

They’ll bring with them everything to get peas, carrots, cucumbers, kale and lettuce growing.

If you’re in the Hammond or Glenwood elementary areas, e-mail Farrance at rjfarrance@gmail.com.

Anyone who gets a garden growing, can enter the children’s category of the Front Yard Food Garden Contest.

Judging for the front yard contest takes place in late August based on quantity and variety of food produced, health of plants and garden practices.

To enter, send in a “before” photo of your front yard by June 27 to dhall@mapleridge.ca.

Winners will be announced in the fall and will get gift certificates from Haney Farmer’s Market.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

Steven Powell is extremely grateful for the help staff and store owners at Valley Fair Mall have provided. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)
Community rallies to replace disabled man’s stolen trike

Steven Powell’s work mates are raising funds to purchase him a new set of wheels

Maureen Jeknavorian explored Kanaka Creek Regional Park recently. (Special to The News)
SHARE: The big skies of Kanaka Creek Regional Park

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

A finished poster promoting a fish ladder along the Alouette River. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge students promote fish ladder in bus stops

Posters by students of the Environmental School to run in bus stops across the city

Darlene and her son, Nolan, share time with a book. To protect his health, Nolan is not able to visit the library branch but the many services it offers allows the family to access materials at home. (FVRL/Special to The News)
COLUMN: Maple Ridge library branch has been a lifeline for many during pandemic

Did you know FVRL library cards are free to local residents?

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Most Read