Max Tell

Good things growing in White Rock

Skylar Porter walks along the side of his garden plot, pointing out the different varieties of vegetables growing there, proud to see his work and effort sprouting to life.



He walks along the side of his garden plot, pointing out the different varieties of vegetables growing there, proud to see his work and effort sprouting to life.

While his snap peas are doing well – along with several other vegetables and lettuces in plot No. 17 at White Rock Community Garden – Skylar Porter, 10, is waiting to harvest one particular crop from his garden.

“Here are my carrots,” he says, using both arms to showcase where the orange veggies are growing.

“I like carrots. They’re good to eat and they’re pointy. I like pointy things.”

Located at Centennial Park, behind the tennis courts, the 21-plot community garden is the first city-sanctioned one in White Rock. It opened at the end of June and boasts orderly, contained garden plots and a city-provided watering system.

Holistic landscaper and site co-ordinator Lora Frost – plot No. 5 – has been involved with the startup of the shared garden, since the idea started growing more than two years ago.

“Our youngest member is 10 and our oldest is 72, and we have all ages in between,” Frost says. “I think people are more interested and more aware about where their food is coming from than ever before.”

Frost says that while some have joined simply because they have green thumbs and don’t have space to garden in their condo or apartment, others are concerned with reducing their carbon footprint and eating locally – an idea that has gained strength with the 100-Mile Diet and other locavore-related trends – while others don’t want pesticides used on their vegetables.

“A lot of people are definitely starting (to garden) for food security,” Frost says. “When you plant it and water it and grow it, you know exactly where it came from and what was or wasn’t used to help it grow.”

Despite the late-June startup and rain in the earlier part of summer, many of the garden plots are growing fabulously in the communal space, with some getting a lot of shade.

But, Porter notes, that’s OK.

“I chose my plot because you don’t want too much sun. You want the sun sometimes, and the shade sometimes. And even rain sometimes,” he says.

Children’s entertainer Max Tell, 65, notes Porter was just helping him weed his garden – plot No. 9 – the other day.

Tell remembers helping his parents in their garden when he was younger, and going around to his neighbours on his bike to sell peas, corn and other veggies.

“My wife is on the (municipal) environmental committee, and she suggested, ‘why don’t we see if we can start our own garden?’” Tell says, holding some yellow beans, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and a double radish from his garden.

Coun. Helen Fathers is pleased to see one of White Rock council’s goals come to fruition, and notes a South Surrey community garden in nearby Crescent Beach has a wait list “about a century long.”

“It’s definitely needed,” she said, pointing to condo and apartment dwellers but also, to those who simply want to live a healthier lifestyle.

“I’d like to see this as only the beginning.”

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