PLOT Sharing Garden volunteers Jasleep Virk (left), Rella Tees and Steve Webster at the Newton Medicine Wheel on Tuesday. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

PLOT Sharing Garden volunteers Jasleep Virk (left), Rella Tees and Steve Webster at the Newton Medicine Wheel on Tuesday. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Surrey gardeners to gather for spring equinox ritual ‘in adapted form’

‘We will still grow things here, that will not change’ says member of PLOT Sharing Garden in Newton

To celebrate the spring equinox and arrival of another season of growing, volunteer caretakers of Newton’s PLOT Sharing Garden will “come together while we stay apart” on Saturday (March 21).

The group’s annual ritual, planned at the Newton Medicine Wheel on the site, will be held in an “adapted form” amid ongoing COVID-19 virus concerns.

With “social distancing” in mind, a few of the community gardeners will gather to offer prayers, blessings, poems and good thoughts, according to a post on the website theplot.ca.

“We will read them in a circle, with plenty of physical distance from each other,” said Rella Tees, who has volunteered at the garden since it was created in 2016.

“For this circle we’ve had 60, 70, 100 people in the past, but this year we can’t have that,” Tees added. “But we will collect the prayers, and we will imagine the circle is full. There is no gap in my mind. This is our fifth year and we’ve never skipped one, so I think it’s important we continue, especially this year.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2016: The PLOT thickens at new ‘community sharing garden’ in Newton.

The community garden is located on two acres of city-owned land to the south of Newton Arena, on 71st Avenue at 137A Street. The garden beds radiate from the centre of a medicine wheel, a path that embodies the circle of life in Aboriginal cultures.

Organic food is grown and shared at the PLOT, which has been a site for work parties, picnics and other celebrations since it first sprang to life four years ago. Community members are invited to “contribute, harvest, share and enjoy.”

Tees, who works as paralegal at a Vancouver firm, lives nearby and volunteers at the garden once a week, sometimes more.

For this year’s spring equinox ritual, she welcomes prayers and blessings emailed to rellatees@gmail.com.

“People said to cancel it but I don’t know, I’ve always been told to balance elements,” Lees said. “Especially at this time it’s important to have those prayers and good thoughts and stress balance in a situation that is imbalanced. We need good thoughts and pull away from everything that’s chaotic right now.”

On Tuesday, Steve Webster worked on garden beds and reluctantly stopped long enough to pose for a photograph.

“Knowing where our food comes from is important, because if you don’t know what you’re eating, you don’t know who you are,” Webster said when asked why he gardens there.

“Growing your own food gives you control of your own environment, and basically how you’re developing as a human being,” he added. “We don’t have enough local food production, and as you can see with the pandemic with the empty shelves…. Growing local just makes sense.”

Webster said the garden has allowed him to meet a variety of people from different cultures.

“You get to meet different people and learn ways of growing food and preparing it,” he said. “You know, family traditions, too – My grandma did it this way, and mine did it that way,’ totally different, but you learn that whole balance of culture.”

Group member Jasleen Virk works as a graphic designer when not at The PLOT, an acronym for peas, lettuce, onions and tomatoes. “For me, it’s about growing food and also about community, being part of the community and also helping others,” she said. “Right now, because spring is here, there’s a lot more work that needs to be done, preparing the gardens.”

Lees said in four years of her work at the garden, she’s noticed “a change in the energy” in the area.

“It’s changed completely,” she said, “and from the start it has changed people. When I started I was scared because I’m from a different culture and I was not sure I’d be accepted, but you realize that everybody here has the same idea, the same passion about community, about doing something good.”

On March 8, a couple dozen people attended a Holi event at the garden, and Lees said an Earth Day celebration is on the PLOT calendar next month. “We’re not sure that will be happening,” she stressed.

“We will still grow things here, that will not change,” Lees added. “Last week the soil was still a little frozen at times but now we are seeing the plants come out. We will have fresh vegetables, we will be self-sufficient. Once those seeds are planted, the vegetables will come very soon – no need to go to the store for those.”

• RELATED STORY, from August 2019: Newton’s PLOT sharing garden hopes to growwith ‘MishmashBash’



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Coronavirusgardening

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The volume of visitors to White Rock’s Marine Drive over the weekend has led council to consider special measures this week. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock council rejects resident-only parking for waterfront

Other health and safety measures to be considered in a special meeting Wednesday

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Vehicles line up for the Greater Vancouver Drive-Thru Food Truck Festival at the Chilliwack Coliseum parking lot on March 27. The touring event comes to Cloverdale this weekend, April 24-25 (Photo: Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress)
Here are the food trucks coming to Cloverdale for a drive-thru festival this weekend

Nine trucks will be parked Saturday, nine Sunday during event at fairgrounds

South Surrey senior Marnie Allard is this year’s honoree in the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey senior honoured in 2021 Alzheimer’s walk

Marnie Allard is living with posterior cortical atrophy

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Parts of Surrey, North Delta to get AstraZeneca vaccines for people ages 40+

A total of seven communities in Surrey and Delta will be targeted

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to table budget that’s expected to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Robinson released a fiscal update last December that said the impact of the pandemic on B.C.’s economy was uncertain

A man has died after being shot at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park the evening of Monday, April 19. (Twitter/IHIT)
1 man dead after shooting at Coquitlam park: IHIT

The gunman is still at large, according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team

Paramedic Matthew Schlatter of Victoria is living a fuller life today due to the double lung transplant he received in 2019. He encourages B.C. residents to register as an organ donor and let their families know their wishes. (Instagram/Matthew Schlatter)
B.C. man living a full, active life after double-lung transplant

Matt Schlatter encourages people to register as an organ donor to help others live

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Most Read