People clambering over a fallen logEd Wachtman organized people in the last hour of the agricultural workshop to write personal visions of how the future at the farm beside Grafton Lake would look in the future. A wide, deep picture emerged. While we can’t pass the stories along because they were anonymous, we felt it would be okay to give an impression with some quotes from them.

“Sometimes I just sit in my chair and watch the others work and play, this is my favourite day and this is where I want to be.”

“It is always fun to see grandkids helping their grandparents plant a raised bed.”

“Later in the season we look forward to long table dinners with locally grown food.”

“The girl is just one of many children who pass through this so-called farm on the way to and from school. Of course it’s all she’s ever known. The trail that leads past the goat moat, across the stream and through the woods where the chickens run wild. It never actually gets boring for her.”

“Then there are the city folks, Yes, they have seen community gardens, but none quite like this. Here they can hike up to quiet spots and feel entirely alone.”

“She (the parent) is smiling as she sees the children discover and follow the path of a small frog. Life is good in this small piece of paradise on Bowen Island.”

“Thus was the dream that started one sunny Sunday in 2015.”

“Growing food isn’t a battle on this place we walked. It is a daily habit. It is a kind, wise act of patience and understanding, that the soil is alive.”

staking out the compost building“People love coming to this place to touch the land and to reconnect with each other.”

“The grandchildren insist on going to the ‘lands’. Simply put, ‘it’s Fun’.”

“Surely you cannot drive by without seeing what’s new and exciting this week.”

“Spending an afternoon is something to look forward to each weekend.”

“We heard some guitar playing and wandered over to a picnic area near the community gardens and enjoyed the sounds of the birds and guitar along with the laughter of the people all around us.”

“When I grow up, I hope, I too, can live in one of the houses just up the hill from the grafton gardens so I will have this huge garden of friends just out the back door.”

“The 10 years make a difference, both in how I climb and in my perceptions and attitudes. Yes, houses. I knew they were in the vision but I had forgotten about them. Here they are, behind the tree buffer. They look ok, better than ok. They are fine.”

“The garden would be part of the transformation, adjacent to the nature preserve. It would be a reflection of community dreams, shaped through a collaborative process.”

“The trails nearby still offer quiet. I walk them with my dog. They are not well used, but they are there. The orchard across the road is thriving. The garden hums with bees.”

“Bowen with its very limited wheelchair access left few places to go. She then reminded me of the community gardens at grafton lake.”

“The grafton Ag lands have become a regional resource for students, researchers, bowen islanders and others to learn about nature and low impact introduced plants for food and medicinal use, and square foot gardening.”

A little pool along the stream“Grafton gardens is at the center of the cross island trails, where walkers, runners, cyclists converge for a break to have a fruit juice of slushy made from the gardens produce.”

“As the day progresses, people arrive to work. Single adults, families with young kids, or seniors who enjoy a day with their hands in the rich black dirt.”

“As the heat of the day settles, the shady spots fill with those in need of a siesta, the rustle of the trees in the wind lulling them to sleep.”

“People spend time there from sunrise, when the song birds sing, to the late evening , when the wind blows the trees and the frogs croak.”

“Someone pulls out a guitar, the cork from a bottle of wine pops and the people relax as the sky darkens and the stars brighten.”

“The community garden is a fabulous equalizer. He has made friends out of people who were former political enemies. He has found common purpose in the garden with people whom he was pretty certain he had nothing in common.”

“Now that snug cove house exists, Bob can live there and through the community garden he can slowly heal himself from his loss by reacquainting himself with the joy of gardening in the company of friends.”

“The true story of the land will be written in the smiles and the laughter of the people who use it and grow along with it.”

“The grafton community garden is the model that the other 5 community gardens are based on. Each is managed by a volunteer”friends of society” which handles management and fundraising.”

“He was breathing again for the first time in years.”

“As she sits and meditates she reflects back on the story in her mind and sees how interconnected everything was and still is. She feels happy to know her community loves her and does everything it can to take care of one another.”

“She knows she belongs, she knows this is home.”

“So now whenever we take visitors past any of the 15 gardens, we point them out with pride and say ‘WE DID THAT’”