In partnership with the City of Red Deer, the Common Ground Garden Project (CGGP) is a multi-phase, brownfield redevelopment project, located at the former Electric, Light & Power site in the southwest corner in the Capstone development area. The project site address is 5581, 45 St, Red Deer - T4N 1L2. The office address is 5550 - 45 St, Red Deer, T4N 1L1 in the Riverlands Business Centre (Unit G11, Office #6). CGGP consists of a number of interactive, accessible, gardening spaces designed to be move-able. The project intends to increase food security, to encourage social enterprise, to share knowledge, and to create social connection. Common Ground Project acknowledges the Indigenous traditional territories represented by Treaty 6 and 7 as the land the project is situated on. This land is also acknowledged as an historic Metis gathering site. The CGGP aims to work together with Indigenous people in building a welcoming and inclusive community.
Project Manager, Rene Michalak presents on the origins and 2023's successes at Common Ground (via Healthy Communities Initiative and Happy Cities' "The Power of Placemaking" webinar)
Red Deer's Garden Stories - Melanie Beebe tells the story of Ecole Oriole Park's experiences and successes at the Common Ground Garden Project in 2021 and 2022
Mission: fostering sustainable food security, connecting to the land, sharing seeds of knowledge, and growing an inclusive community.
We value Community – Growth – Connection
CGGP is an urban farming project which is located in Red Deer and works to address local food security in Central Alberta while creating a safe and vibrant public space that offers accessibility, inclusion, sustainability, and fellowship. The 4 acre city-owned Capstone location offers ample volume to grow a variety of foods for the benefit of local food banks, soup kitchens, social agencies, families and individuals to create a safe and accessible space to everyone in the community while encouraging social enterprise. Common Ground Garden Project creates regular volunteer opportunities as well as educational workshops, encouraging mental and physical well-being by spending time in a natural environment.
A preliminary concept drawing on the permaculture-inspired layout of the site is below. The 2021 growing season involved the development of the site, planting Garden A and several containers, as well as education and engagement opportunities with local schools and non-profit organizations. The 2022 growing season built upon this original design with the addition of a squash mound, season extending "hoop house", large-scale community composting area, an outdoor kitchen, and painting of multiple art murals on the adjacent building and two storage sea cans!
In 2023, we reached the limits of our available space and were blessed to welcome two dynamic apprentices from the Young Agrarians Apprenticeship Program plus a brand new intern and event planner via ReThink Red Deer. Together with our summer students and volunteers the team grew more food this year than in the first two combined! In addition to hosting a fun-filled summer camp with the African Caribbean Centre of Central Alberta, Red Deer Child Care, and the Central Alberta Immigrant Womens Association, we hosted multiple engagements with our local Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers with the help of Urban Aboriginal Voices Society. These engagements allowed us to work together in active reconciliation by sharing Indigenous culture, installing a 30-foot Medicine Wheel Garden, and building strong relationships with all of our community members by hosting a "professional potluck"-style harvest supper that fed over 160 people!
The site is generally open to the public Friday mornings during the growing season (approx. May through October) from 9am to 12pm. Otherwise, by workshop or special event - see the ReThink Red Deer events calendar HERE. And check out our project Facebook page HERE.
We are funded through the generous support of the Government of Alberta's Civil Society Fund, the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, and the City of Red Deer through the REconnect grant, the Capstone Activation Fund, and Environmental Initiatives Fund including numerous in-kind contributions, not to mention the individual cash and in-kind donations from site visitors, volunteers, and supporting organizations and businesses.
Our core operating funding ends in March of 2024 and we are currently seeking support to keep our project growing - please get in touch with us at the phone number and e-mail below if you are able to help!
design courtesy of Living Lands Landscape and Design
If you would like to be a contributor or volunteer, please contact commonground (at) rethinkreddeer.ca and / or call 403-346-1735