Through the City of Victoria’s participatory budget we have an amazing opportunity to bring our Learning Garden project to life, but to do this we need your help! Participatory Budgets? Learning Gardens? We know you might have a couple questions about what’s going on here! Take a read through our blog post which will hopefully answer your main questions.
What is a Participatory Budget?
The Participatory Budgeting Project describes participatory budgeting as a different way to manage public money, and to engage people in government. It is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives.”
Participatory Budgeting in Victoria
For the very first time the City of Victoria has put together its own participatory budget. This allows Victorian’s to decide how the $50,000 will be spent. Since May, a citizen-led steering committee has been developing a process for empowering our community to decide how the $50,000 should be invested. As citizens we now have the opportunity to vote on the shortlisted projects that were submitted by community members and local organizations this past fall. All the money can go towards one large project or it can be divide between several different projects, it is up to the public to decide!
What is the FED Learning Garden Project?
Our project is to build a Learning Garden at the downtown branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library. The FED Learning Garden will be a beautiful community space and an outdoor classroom, a place where the public can learn about a variety of topics such as how to save seeds, identify plant varieties, and grow food in urban spaces.
As a community hub and an educational space, the Library is an ideal location for a Learning Garden. The Library is already home to the Victoria Seed Library, a non-profit project that saves heritage local seed varieties for gardeners to share. The FED Learning Garden will provide the Seed Library with a demonstration site so they can teach citizens how to steward a regionally adapted seed collection.
Two local non-profits, FED and LifeCycles Project Society, will work with the Library to run ongoing educational programing at the site. FED works with local restaurants to increase the number of urban gardens in the downtown core. LifeCycles runs a number of food-related programs in the region, including the Victoria Seed Library.
How will it improve the City?
As a Learning Garden, the project will serve first and foremost as an education space for the community, offering seed saving and food growing workshops in an outdoor classroom environment. It will also contribute to food security in the region by turning an under-utilized space into a productive urban garden. Finally, it will animate and beautify public space that is in need of revitalization and place-making, creating a new community space for Victoria citizens to enjoy.
What can you do to help?
Share, share, share! We would love if you could help us spread the word about our FED Learning Garden. Share our posts on social media, talk to your friends and family about it, and be sure to vote online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/pbvic