Sharing Backyards Program Blossoms in B.C.

Credit: Elizabeth Rowlands

If you’re staring out at your boring backyard turf and wishing for an oasis of veggies and herbs, this offer might be just the one you’re looking for.

Gardeners throughout Vancouver and Victoria are now “Sharing Backyards” through an innovative program launched by economist Patrick Hayes, long “passionate about food gardens and creating easy access for everyone to organic, locally-grown food.

“More than 40 per cent of people live in condos and apartments,” says Hayes, and many would like to nurture a garden close to home. Using web-mapping technology, “Sharing Backyards” is designed to connect landowners interested in some gardening camaraderie with others in their area seeking a little plot to plant up.

Victoria gardeners can find “Sharing Backyards” at, home of a non-profit effort cultivating awareness around food and sustainability. Vancouverites are signing up at Championed by executive director Michael Levenston, City Farmer has been quietly teaching the public about environmental issues through backyard food gardening for almost three decades. Their demonstration garden at 6th and Maple is open to the public 24 hours a day, with experts available for questions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday in the garden and at 604-736-2250.

With “Sharing Backyards” now budding in two cities, Hayes is seeking the funding to enable it to blossom into a B.C.-wide and eventually international initiative – so that everyone who dreams of a little garden can have just that.