Redcliff town council voted to pay for watering costs at the local community garden for the past year at its Sept. 9 meeting.
The town has waived the garden’s watering fees for the last 12 years, at an average costs of $245 a year.
The initial motion proposed allowing the Redcliff Community Garden to ask for their fees to be waived every three years, but Mayor Dwight Kilpatrick says due to declining interest in the garden council decided to take a more cautious approach by continuing to subsidize a year at a time.
“Interest was waning,” the mayor explained. “Even though it’s not a lot, it’s still taxpayers’ money and it’s just something that we want to see getting good value for.”
Council re-assess whether their contribution is worth it next year, he added.
“Originally, the idea of this community garden for people who did not have a yard to have their own garden,” said Kilpatrick. “Lots of times, these are lower income people.”
The garden had about 30 plots and each was rented out to an apartment-dwelling greenthumb.
“This year they actually had open plots, which tells me it’s not as busy as it used to be,” Kilpatrick said. “Some people took two plots.”
The mayor attributes declining use of the garden has to gardening becoming an increasingly niche hobby, rather than a means of sustenance.
“I don’t think a garden is something that’s on the top of people’s lists anymore,” he said. “People spend more time on their phones and social media than growing vegetables.”
Gardening requires a lot of work. Some people would rather simply purchase their vegetables from one of the town’s many greenhouses or the supermarket, said Kilpatrick.
“First you’ve got to dig up the ground, then you’ve got to seed, then you’ve got to weed, water and trim, take care of things, and in the end … I could have probably gone to the store and for $25 or $30 bought all the vegetables that I grew,” he said.
“It’s hard. Unless you love to garden, that’s the only reason why you’d garden anymore.”