Located adjacent to the North Saskatchewan River in Northeast Edmonton's Horse Hill Area, Lady Flower Gardens (LFG) has a 75-acre old growth forest, a large insulated yurt used for community events, and a 5-acre community garden. LFG is a Land Foundation with the objective of growing a healthy agricultural community with disadvantaged people. It differs from a standard foundation in that instead of providing grants and funds, it grants free access to agricultural products, land, and knowledge to community groups that work with disadvantaged Edmontonians. In 2016, 17 of these groups planted, weeded and harvested resulting in 52,000 lbs of produce going to Edmonton’s Food Bank and over 20,000 lbs to themselves and their agencies.
Unfortunately, residential development is increasingly pressuring the agricultural and wildlands of Lady Flower Gardens and the 143 acres of prime agricultural lands south of it. In order to protect this land, landowner Doug Visser, and his partner Kelly Mills, hope to obtain a conservation easement with the Edmonton and Area Land Trust. This conservation easement will allow Lady Flower Gardens to become a catalyst for the development of a deeply rooted collaborative neighbourhood in which Edmontonians can learn to live sustainably with the land and each other.
Donations towards conserving the forest and particularly the agricultural lands will be held in an endowment fund at the Edmonton Community Foundation. Every donation made up to $60,000 will be matched by Doug Visser. At the time of writing, with the matching funds, $74,000 has been raised.
To further fundraising, a benefit concert featuring Ann Vriend, Amy van Keeken and Joe Nolan is planned for Saturday, June 10. For more information, check out www.ladyflowergardens.com.