Askîy Project turns Saskatoon brownfield site into garden

Project includes Indigenous language as it aims to educate people about gardening during the 2016 season.

Plot takes more artistic and educational turn for 2016 season

Intern Kristen Severight-Dumais says the Askîy Project aims to teach people about gardening. (CBC)

A project in Saskatoon is once again taking gardening above ground.

The garden plot sits on an area at Station 20 West and Avenue K that used to be the site of a gas station. Because the ground may have been contaminated, pallets and barrels are used to safely grow the plants.

Painted signs around the garden use Indigenous language and teachings to educate people about gardening. (CBC)

"We wouldn't have been able to do anything like planting in the ground," Kristen Severight-Dumais, an urban agriculture intern with CHEP Good Food Inc., explained.

"So we had this idea of elevating some barrels on pallets."

Teaching others about gardening

The project began in 2014 under a different name as rooftop gardens at the University of Saskatchewan. It relocated to the brownfield site — which means a former industrial or commercial site — in 2015 and was renamed the Askîy Project — which means "Earth" in Cree.

Severight-Dumais said the garden has gotten a lot more artistic and educational this summer.

"That would be teaching people how to harvest properly, soil science, and also we're trying to incorporate a lot of Indigenous language."

Pallets and barrels are used to safely grow the plants at a site that used to be a gas station. (CBC)

Painted signs around the garden include Cree.

Along with a partnership with some local businesses, the produce from the garden is sold at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market every Wednesday and Saturday.