COLUMN: Visions of springtime in the depths of winter

Alexandra and Crescent Park Community Garden registration opens Monday

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story indicated the Sunday, Jan. 26 repair café begins at 11 a.m. In fact, it begins at 1 p.m.


Gazing out the window of my home office upon a sparkling winter wonderland (since I am physically incapable of moving my car), I am thinking about gardens.

With about 40 cm of snow on the ground, you might think, “out of sight out of mind.” Not when you oversee two community gardens. Now is precisely the time I am thinking about opening registrations for Alexandra and Crescent Park Community Gardens – which will happen on Monday, Jan. 20 (assuming I can get to the office).

Community gardening isn’t only about having a fresh, local source of produce. Nor is it only about getting out in the sunshine and fresh air, enjoying the physical and emotional therapy of gardening. It is also a way of asserting our values around food security, sustainability and the preservation of green-space. It is about co-creating meaningful community, focused on a common goal. A little thing like community gardening is actually a big idea about community building for our shared future.

Find out more about applying for a plot by emailing or calling me. Crescent Park Community Garden is located at the corner of 128 Street and 25 Avenue; and Alexandra Community Garden is in the park located across Sullivan Street from Camp Alexandra.

Sustainable community

Two sustainability-related initiatives to share with you, about which we’re very excited. First, we are pleased to welcome the White Rock/South Surrey Repair Café – a series of five are planned in 2020 – to Alex House. The first of these will be on Sunday, Jan. 26, from 1-4 p.m. in Alexandra Hall and the dining hall at our Crescent Beach location.

Repair Café is an opportunity to put the green economy into practice by building community. Volunteers share their skills repairing and mending broken items, people make music, children play. If that toy you bought your child at Christmas is already broken; if you’re looking to sharpen your lawnmower in preparation for spring, drop on by. And if you have a skill to share with your community, or would like to help out making the event happen, email the organizers at

If your passion is bringing allied groups together around a shared goal, consider getting involved with the Sustainable Community Action Network (SCAN). Alex House is taking the lead in facilitating what we hope will become a stakeholder table for community groups interested in co-creating sustainable living – individually, in our neighbourhoods, in our city and in our world. There is unparalleled opportunity for citizen activism directed at building the kind of community we want to live in.

Together as neighbours

By far, the most effective way of building community is simply being with our neighbours. This is the idea around Neighbourhood Fun Night, which – by popular demand – is expanding from its usual weekly summer schedule to include monthly offerings beginning this Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 5-7 p.m. in the dining hall at Camp Alex.

The events are an opportunity for parents to take a break from cooking with a low-cost, family-friendly meal, music, supervised activities for children and a door prize. It happens on the fourth Wednesday of the month through May 27. Join us this Wednesday to enjoy the music of Silverwood, accompanying a meal of vegetable minestrone, grilled cheese sandwiches, tarts and hot chocolate – all for the low cost of $7 (adults) and $3 (kids 12 and under). Cash only, please; no registration required.

Neil Fernyhough is manager of Alexandra Neighbourhood House’s community programs.For information on programs/services at Camp Alexandra, call 604-535-0015 (ext. 236) or email


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