Growing Traditions: Sharing gardening knowledge across generations

The elders in our community have abundant knowledge of gardening practices. My grandparents grew up on farms on the Prairies during the Depression. Growing food and composting were facts of life. But as this generation of gardeners retires to smaller homes, their knowledge is leaving us.

At the same time, so many people are getting excited about growing their own food. Maybe it’s the recession, or maybe it’s just time: new parents want to teach their children how to garden, and flower gardeners are starting to cultivate food as well.

This year, the Sustainable Living Arts School, in consultation with the Edible Garden Project, is  working on a small garden mentorship program funded by North Shore Health. The Growing Traditions project is a small pilot program designed to help us learn how elders and new food gardeners can share their knowledge. We would like to learn how garden mentorships work, experiment with how learning parties can support these relationships…and get families growing food!

A big thanks to Stacey Friedman and all the participants of Intergenerational Landed Learning at UBC Farm who welcomed us to join them for a day of Landed Learning fun at the farm. We also took the opportunity to crash in on  Diane Johnson, who managed UBC’s Trimentoring Program through its start-up years.  They both asked great questions, created a context where we could ask what we needed and well, mentored us for a day.

The project is looking for experienced gardeners on the North Shore who would like to mentor newer gardeners. We’re also looking for families to participate – newer gardeners who would both contribute to and benefit from a community connection with an elder gardener. The mentorship would occur from June until the end of September.  At the end  families and elders will share their knowledge with their neighbors and friends by hosting a learning party.

Do you know anyone who would like to do something like this? Interested participants or those with any questions are welcome to contact Tricia at 604-842-3251 (please leave a message) or email growingtraditions(at)