Alice Gosse harvests chard from her backyard garden – a garden she now shares with Rick Ketcheson and his wife

Rooting for community gardens

White Rock's Rick Ketcheson wants the Semiahmoo Peninsula to 'get growing' on expanding its community gardens.

As the weather gets warmer and warmer, Alice Gosse can’t wait to get her hands dirty.

The White Rock senior tries to spend at least an hour a day in her backyard garden; it’s time she finds both therapeutic and productive.

Not long ago, however, it was time that, after more than three decades, she was preparing to give up, as the task of looking after her 200-plus square feet of fertile ground was starting to become too much for the senior.

And then she met Rick Ketcheson and his wife, who happened to be looking for land they could garden; to go beyond the containers they plant at their White Rock townhouse.

“I definitely had planned to move this spring,” Gosse said. After coming to an arrangement with the Ketchesons, however, “I phoned the real estate agent and said, sorry, not this year.”

Now, the Ketchesons pop by Gosse’s home a few times a week, planting seeds, shovelling compost and doing whatever else needs doing to grow the foods they’d like to have at home.

In exchange for the privilege, Gosse gets her pick of the harvest.

“They do the garden and I can take what I want out of it,” she said. “Which, for one person, isn’t much.”

The arrangement – shared backyard gardening – is a form of community gardening Ketcheson hopes will take root on a greater scale on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

From talking with friends and neighbours, he knows there’s interest out there – interest in the quality, price and sustainability of food.

“I had four offers in one week,” he said, of the response he got after first mentioning his desire to find land to garden.

The interest in building more community gardens is also strong, he said. Together, the ideas led to formation of the Semiahmoo Food Network ( and a plan to appeal to White Rock council for support.

First, Ketcheson needs a better idea of who’s interested – “people to come forward and make it clear this is something the community wants,” he said.

Then, he’ll ask the city for a five-year commitment to do groundwork, such as identify potential sites and develop cost estimates so that the gardens can proceed.

White Rock currently has one community garden. Opened in July 2011, the 21-plot space on Vine Street – just east of Centennial Park – is full and over-subscribed, Ketcheson’s been told. It’s the same case for the City of Surrey’s Dunsmuir Gardens in Crescent Beach.

Ketcheson said community gardens grow more than just food.

“It’s a great community builder. People get together, they meet one another, they grow food and share their knowledge,” he said.

“To me, it’s part of the whole transition to a more sustainable economic structure.”

Those interested don’t have to be experienced gardeners, he added.

One person who got involved contributed the group’s website. Another has raised the idea with the mayor, who Ketcheson said has encouraged a delegation to council. It may be that there are people in the community who have land they’d like to see put to good use.

“It’s just a matter of taking what people can give and turning it into something productive.”

He acknowledged the undertaking is not a small one, but “certainly not impossible.”

To get involved or for more information, Ketcheson may be reached at 604-219-1795 or


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Proposed Marine Drive zone aims to make use of small lots ‘more efficient’

CR-3A zone discussed during White Rock’s first virtual public information meeting

Surrey-area associations gear up for hockey restart

But it’s not yet clear when city-operated rinks and rec centres will reopen

White Rock calls for street-banner artists

Deadline to apply is 4 p.m. July 24

Rugby practices to return to Lower Mainland fields this fall

B.C. Rugby announced its return to play plan July 7

Surrey Mounties seize shotgun, ammo, after officers shot at with BB gun in Newton

Police say they were on foot patrol in the 6400-block of King George Boulevard when someone fired at them with a BB gun

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Investigation clears RCMP in incident where man fell from Langley overpass

‘Officers acted commendably and placed themselves at risk’ police watchdog report finds

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read

l -->