Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


The Demonstration Garden

Map showing the location of our garden at 2150 Maple Street.

Staff take care of our 2500 square foot "demo" garden tucked away behind an environmental education centre owned by the City of Vancouver. Protected by a wooden fence surrounded by thick blackberry bushes, our peaceful garden in the heart of the city helps us promote urban agriculture.

The Vancouver Demonstration Food Garden was opened 1982 to demonstrate the large quantity of food one person can grow in a city backyard using intensive, organic methods of cultivation. Workshops and hands-on experience in our raised beds give novice gardeners the confidence they need to start their own garden.

A QuickTime VR Panorama of The Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden

Demonstration Garden Address:
2150 Maple Street
Vancouver, BC V6J 3T3 Canada

corner of 6th Avenue and Maple Street
Kitsilano, Vancouver
(604) 736-2250

In 1987, raised wooden planting beds were built at the site to provide a demonstration horticulture therapy centre for the use of bused-in visitors from nearby health care facilities. The Ability Garden was staffed by therapists who organized garden activities, such as topiary assembly, flower arranging and seed harvesting for the enjoyment of seniors with Alzheimer's, quadriplegic children and people suffering from MS.

In 1990, with the start of government directed recycling efforts, the site was transformed once again, this time into The Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden. The latest commercial compost bins are tested for ease of use, rodent- resistance, and durability. The visiting public comes to watch Wes turn kitchen and yard waste into soil- enhancing compost. Meanwhile gardeners answer questions on the Hotline about red wrigglers (worms), Green Genies (plastic compost bins) and slugs (unpleasant garden creatures).

As you can see from the above activities, a demo garden is a very useful research, educational and promotional tool for urban agriculture. Many media events have taken place at our beautiful garden. Sesame Street recently came to shoot a segment on worm composting. Last year we cut fresh artichokes for the Mayor of Vancouver before the cameras. Harvesting colourful amaranth seeds or teaching a class of rambunctious school children always make good visuals. By way of the media, the work of a small, quiet garden can reach hundreds of thousands of interested people.

Having your own "demo" garden will enable your staff to speak with confidence as advocates of urban agriculture. Showing people a flourishing garden that has been growing without chemicals for many years will convert skeptics instantly. When they stoop to pick and then taste a strawberry, they will be motivated more surely than having them read something from a book.

The Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden is supported by
the Vancouver Engineering Department, City of Vancouver.

The Compost Hotline is supported by
the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

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Revised October 5, 2004

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture