Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region nutritionists hope the urban garden they’ve planted outside their Winnipeg Street offices will appeal to area businesses.
Kaylee Michnik, a local public health nutritionist, saw a lot of concrete and not enough green space in the Warehouse District, where their building is located.
âBasically all the man-made structures around us: the streets, the lights,â Michnik explained. âWe’re in a space that you wouldn’t normally expect to see a garden. “
She and her colleagues developed a project called Create a Space Regina knowing that just like sidewalks help people walk where they want to go, green spaces help people lead healthier lives.
âThe natural environment around us affects our health,â she said. “Whether there is a green space or a place for people to relax and socialize, it impacts our health without us even knowing it.”
Workers planted four beds of the garden vegetables, including beans, carrots, kale, squash, cucumbers and Brussels sprouts along the street in front of the building. They also included locations for shrubs and flowers.
Even before the start of planting, extensive landscaping had to be done to find out how to arrange a garden in an urban space. The health region had the soil tested to make sure it was safe for planting.
Michnik pitched the idea and got approval from the health region who provided support. There were also grants from the Regina Horticultural Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Young people get started
The community was also involved in the project with children from the Eastview Community Center summer programs who spent time in the garden, harvesting vegetables and making salads from their pickings. The youth also painted tree stumps to provide a colorful border for a garden bed that will house native plants.
âIt’s my favorite part,â Michnik said of the kids. “They were trying all kinds of things I didn’t expect them to eat. They were having kaleâ¦ and Brussels sprout leaves.”
Michnik says the garden brings people together from the region. She noticed that many people stopped to sit at the picnic table they had set up.
She hopes the idea for the garden will spread to other businesses in the area.
Nutritionists will host a garden event next month and invite businesses along Winnipeg Street and the Warehouse Improvement District. This event will provide information on how urban gardens can be profitable for businesses and how they can integrate theirs.
âA project can make a statement, but it’s really collective action that has a bigger impact,â she said. “Others may be inspired by this and want to do something positive in their neighborhood.”
Michnik is also working on a project to create a catalog of the city’s urban gardens, so people can find community gardens nearby.