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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Police ask for help finding driver after hit-and-run hurts 18-year-old pedestrian

Featured as Crime Stoppers ‘Crime of the Week,’ crash happened in 7400 block of 140th Street on June 5

Councillor Doug Elford Surrey’s acting mayor during McCallum’s “health concern” absence

Mayor issued a statement Tuesday night saying he’ll be back on the job by Monday

‘That night was so much fun’: Surrey-raised comedian in ‘New Wave of Standup’ series

Comedy clubs are still a no-go for Matty Vu, who grew up in Whalley

Delta man charged with arson in relation to New Year’s Day fire in Tsawwassen

The blaze at 5405 12th Ave. destroyed a building containing two dentist offices and a music school

South Surrey crash victim honoured by KPU for ‘determination and strength’

Elgin Park Secondary graduate wrote book detailing recovery from 2007 car crash

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Sunflower Highway, art initiative to connect Fraser Valley, Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan

Sunflowers made out of reclaimed materials will be installed on public art trails

B.C. tent camps persist as hotels, housing bought for homeless

Current estimate 40 camps, homeless counts stalled by COVID-19

VIDEO: Trio of orphaned Alberta grizzly bear cubs find new home at Vancouver zoo

The Alberta cubs’ mother was killed by hunters and would have otherwise been euthanized, zoo says

VIDEO: Racist ‘cotton’ comment by B.C. student generates outrage online, response by school

Administrator says ‘no doubt that implicit and overt discrimination is present’ in schools

Recent COVID-19 hotspots show ‘cases can reemerge at anytime’ in Canada, feds warn

Njoo said the recent increase in reproductive number brings home the importance of watching for outbreaks

Fraser River may surge one more time next week

It’s unusual for the Fraser River to peak twice in one season, let alone three times

Most Read