“I would kill for a community garden plot,” is a common sentiment in Vancouver, at least among the apartment-dwelling locavore crowd. Demand for garden space is extremely high, with wait-lists several years long—if the wait-lists aren’t already closed. If you’re looking for a community plot, best make other plans.
The question of what you would do (theoretically?) for a community garden plot may be the question that most of us dreamily consider, but there is another question that follows close on its heels. Should you be lucky enough to win the garden lottery, you may start to ask yourself, “Can I live with this?”
At garden orientation a few days ago, our exalted small group of new garden members was introduced to the inner workings of the garden. We heard about work parties, required meetings, a laundry list of “thou shall nots” that ostensibly keep the peace between gardeners (or at least prevent all-out war), and more work parties. I learned that I would soon become adept with a weed-eater (used at said work parties), and that picking up litter and dog poop were going to be weekly occurrences. When the garden coordinator finished her warnings and asked if anyone wanted to withdraw their participation in the garden, she was only half joking. But I expected this. I’m all in.
What I did not expect was the roadkill.
At least I think it was roadkill that I picked off my garden plot a few days later. How do I explain a decidedly un-squashed dead squirrel, lying face down and spread-eagled on my plot a few meters from the road? In my urban neighbourhood dead animals are pretty uncommon, and when they appear the cause of death is usually clear—pancake thinness and tire tread marks tend to give it away. Surely there’s no connection between this expired squirrel and my garden windfall? Regardless of the cause—whether car, karmic, or cultic—this is not a weekly occurrence I can live with. Can we please add, “Thou shall not encounter dead animals in the garden,” to the list of rules?