Urban gardener wants to see more food grown on empty lots

A Calgary urban gardener says he hopes to see more vegetables grown on undeveloped lots in the city.

Graham Waugh wants to help keep vacant lots from becoming an eyesore

The Salad Spinners team consists of Meghan Simmons, not pictured, and Graham Waugh. The two salad lovers have been growing vegetables in backyards around Calgary. (Salad Spinners/Facebook)

A Calgary urban gardener says he hopes to see more vegetables grown on undeveloped lots in the city.

Graham Waugh, an urban gardener and owner of Salad Spinners, says it makes sense for property owners because gardening keeps vacant lots from becoming an eyesore.

“There is certainly lots of open land and there is also interest in growing on the land. If we can get the conversation started there is a lot of potential.”

In late August, kale is still doing well in a Calgary garden. (Salad Spinners/Facebook)

He says some of the empty lots awaiting development in this city could be used to grow fresh produce. Waugh says it's a win-win for the gardener and the property owner.

"By using the empty sites, the grower — the farmer — is keeping them up, keeping them clean, presentable and safe, and that has benefits to the landowner."

Coun. Evan Woolley, who represents Ward 8, is a fan of urban gardening.

He says real estate developers often want to move forward on a project with little notice and that makes them hesitant to enter into an agreement with prospective urban farmers.

"Maybe there are opportunities to create mobile gardens. Pick it up from one place and move it to another," he said.

If there are gardeners out there with a proposal for urban farming, Woolley said he is willing to bring the matter forward at council and champion the cause.

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