With a resurgence of backyard gardening - but a lack of plot space in most current-day urban lots - interest and demand for community gardens has been blossoming.
That's in part the motivation behind a new garden taking root in Walnut Grove.
In past, the Rotary Club of Langley Sunrise - one of the four clubs operating in Langley - created two other community gardens. One is at the Langley Community Services site at the foot of 207th Street by the Nicomekl River and the other behind the tennis courts at the Walnut Grove Community Centre, providing about 75 garden beds for rent.
"But it's not enough," said Rotarian and project member Wayne Patterson.
So earlier this year, the team broke ground on its third community garden, again in Walnut Grove.
The idea for this new garden, at 216th Street and 92nd Avenue, was the brainchild of Bill Lindell.
He proposed clearing an overgrown section of Township land known as Topham Park, suggesting the club build about 100 raised beds, as well as a gazebo, benches, and more pathways in its place.
"This was wasted land. It wasn't used for anything," Patterson said, describing the original site as an "eyesore" except for a small pathway that stretched between a neighbouring subdivision and Topham elementary.
Well, phase one of community garden project has just recently been finished, boasted Patterson, who insists this was his first - but definitely not his last - community garden project.
"It's a direct effect - you see firsthand how you're giving back to the community. It's something you can see and look at for years to come," he added, pleased that the first 24 beds are complete and most all are already rented out through the Township.
Patterson was among of the first of a 20-member Rotary team on the ground on this project.
His work began back in April and he spent the better part of three months clearing almost three acres of 10-foot high blackberry bushes, grading the site for access off 216th Street, filling in an old well, cleaning away underbrush for more pathways under a series of first-growth cedars and alder trees on the site, leveling space for the garden beds and parking, and running water into the garden area.
Then, over the course of two recent weekends, the rest of the Rotary team came in and helped fence off a section of the site and build the first series of six-foot-square raised planter boxes.
It would have been an expensive proposition, thus far, if not for all the donations, Patterson said.
He noted that Rotary kicked in $10,000, and that has been augmented by a wealth of volunteer labour and gifts in kind.
Local companies have stepped out to help by giving everything from gravel and fencing, to woodchips, dirt, plumbing services, and equipment rentals, he said, pointing to companies such as United Rentals, Cloverdale Fuels, Gawley & Son, North Coast Building Products, Liquidus Plumbing, and Mid Valley Fencing.
But the work doesn't end though, Patterson explained.
Early next spring they'll begin on the second, and hopefully final, phase of construction that will include the gazebo, paths, a supply shed, and the addition of about 70 more garden beds - including a few that will be wheelchair accessible plots.
In the meantime, Rotarians will spend the next few months hunting down donations for phase two.
"We're hoping we can get people to donate that, too," said Patterson.
Anyone interested in contributing can contact Patterson at 604-534-5374 (work) or 604-838-5004 (cell).