by Michelle Sproule | One of the things that I love most about living in this city is stumbling across cool projects erected smack in the middle of everything. Gardens planted in roundabouts, street art, spontaneous driftwood structures, sidewalk chalk murals – that sort of thing. I like them first and foremost because they are physical evidence of the fact that Vancouverites see the value in creativity and will spend their own precious time making something only to leave it behind (anonymously) for others to enjoy. I also like them because, despite being vulnerable to vandalism and theft, there they are.
On my morning run the other day I pass by a good example on the False Creek seawall. Granted, this project is a little more developed. It even has a name: The Bulkhead Project. It’s overseen by a collective of known individuals (Grow) and is funded by the City. But the same spirit is there in abundance. It’s a food producing garden open to any passer by. No locks. No rules. Totally reliant on honour, respect and enthusiasm. Though it’s referred to as “a public art project that acts as a public forum, teaching tool and creative laboratory for ecological and social sustainability,” it’s also an experiment testing in our faith in one another.
The project has made use of reclaimed materials (wooden palettes, burlap sacks, fruit boxes) to build a series of platforms for growing root vegetables, greens, herbs, berries and mushrooms. “Rusted steel beams will become the support for elaborate handcrafted netting which will support the growth of scarlet runner beans, while the chain link fence will be gradually populated with small pockets of green plants.”
To visit the The Bulkhead Lab, hit the seawall adjacent to Habitat (aka “Bird”) Island on the periphery of the west side of the Olympic Village. It’s accessible on foot or by bike. Just look for the Nasturtium-spurting, cone-shaped planters attached to the chain link fence.