The Little Garden That Could: Gardening cooperation at The Cridge Centre

There is a hidden garden on-site at The Cridge Centre, tucked away behind the townhouses.  It has become a symbol of resilience and cooperation.

The garden space was originally cleared by the rowing team of UVic and started as a project of our Brain Injury Program to grow kale for the Kale Kings. Remember those amazing cookies?!  Then, through a grant and our direct access funding, we had an organic gardener join the project. with an invitation to the child care program to participate alongside. The vision was that brain injury survivors, supported by Cridge staff would work with the children to grow food that they could all harvest and eat. That year the children harvested enough vegetables to make soup and potato salad for all their families to come and enjoy! Because they had grown it, children were happily eating raw kale, kale flowers and radishes, much to the surprise of their parents.

The ultimate goal of the Cridge Brain Injury Program is to help survivors move along the continuum of care into meaningful employment, which is exactly what happened. It left the child care program on its own to garden the following couple of years. In January of 2020, a group of enthusiastic students from Camosun College wanted to engage in a service project that would be of value to our organization and they chose our garden. The group enlisted the carpentry program to build us raised garden beds. They worked with the preschool and school-age care groups to fill the beds and plant a new vegetable garden. Unfortunately, this group was not able to see the literal fruits of their labour because just as the seeds were in the ground, during Covid-19 the project was dropped.

A new School Age Care staff with a passion for gardening really led a revival in our little garden. She carefully weeded, cultivated and tended what had become overgrown vegetable beds. In cooperation with the preschool, it is now a thriving garden again! The picture below shows some of their bounty.

Happily, we now have a resident in the townhouses interested in participating to grow food for her family. To make it a complete full circle, there is a brain injury survivor who will do some weed whacking to ensure that she has enough space for her garden beds.

The Cridge Brain Injury Programs, Children’s Services, Dovetail Program, Camosun, and UVic have all come together in cooperation in our Little Garden That Could.

By Christine Wosilius, Assistant Manager of The Cridge Children’s Services