The Charlottetown Parks and Recreation Department was awarded the P.E.I. Association of Planners Murray Pinchuk Community Builder Award for its vegetable planter program. This award is presented annually on November 8, World Town Planning Day.
In 2010, the Parks and Recreation Department planted tomatoes instead of flowers in the center of the existing planters at Victoria Park. Since 2011, all of the planters have been filled with vegetables. Currently 10 planters are at Victoria Park, some at different heights to accommodate users. One is a lasagna bed where the turf is covered with cardboard and then layers of green and brown compost are added to the bed and then left to decompose creating a nutrient rich organic bed with little effort.
All of the planters are tended by Parks and Recreation horticulture staff. Each year, the department has planted new and interesting vegetables, such as okra and broccolini. The produce in the vegetable planters is available for public use. In 2016, three vegetable planters were placed in Orlebar Park. Local residents have been involved in the maintenance and harvesting vegetables. More planters will be filled with vegetables in additional locations next summer. City of Charlottetown Parkland Conservationist Beth Hoar accepted the award from the P.E.I. Association of Planners on behalf of the Parks and Recreation Department. Food security is one of the goals under the City’s sustainability plan. The vegetable planter initiative has evolved to include community outreach, such as the Gardening in Small Spaces Workshops and National Garden Days and it is now an inter-departmental City initiative.