Our Mission Statement

To be a vibrant gardening community committed to sustainable horticulture and beauty.

Our Purpose Statement

Our purpose is fourfold:

  1. To produce food for use by community garden participants and local non-profit organizations.
  2. To function as an educational demonstration plot for the community.
  3. To enhance the attractiveness of the local community
  4. To create a landscape for the enjoyment of gardeners and local residents.
  5. To provide a place of harmony with the natural and spiritual world.

Our Objectives

Our objective is to establish a community garden along with a prayer labyrinth and beautification of the sloped areas on the north, east and south slopes for the use, benefit, enjoyment and educational opportunities of all in the community.

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History of the Garden

What started as a proposal to establish a community garden on the church property under the “BC Hydro Power Lines”  in November of 2009 has now grown to involve over 50 garden plots, shed, comprehensive plan for the two acre site including gathering structures, a labyrinth, fruit and nut trees and memorial benches.  Highland Community Church (HCC) elders, board of management and faith community believed the garden would support “core values” of HCC and gave their approval in spite of valid concerns that necessary elements such as water and soil were not in place and vandalism was a common occurrence.

Initially it was proposed that a core group of gardeners begin with 6 or 8 plots. During this “demonstration” year the venture would be reviewed and upon completion of a successful season would be open to offering plots to other interested gardeners.

This was a wise decision and allowed for the needed soil and water line connection to be put in place. The garden enjoyed donations from the Abbotsford business community and by the season’s end it became clear that the venture had the potential to “grow”.  We did not anticipate the growth that it would enjoy and what began as humble beginnings took a new commitment to leadership, policy development and management.

Gardening is a sacred work and honors the faith that we hold; that the seed when blessed with sun, water and that we have nurtured will grow and share its bounty with us.

For information on becoming a gardener, email highlandcc@gmail.com  or call the church at 604-853-7052. With only a limited number of plots available, there is currently a wait list to reserve plots. We encourage you to send us an email or give us a call and we’ll make sure we get you a plot as soon as possible!

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See our latest newsletter here: HCG newsletter April 2016.pdf

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Reflection on our Community Garden

~ Reg Dyck ~

 In the beginning God created heaven and earth, and on this earth he created a garden full of diversity, bounty and beauty.  After God saw that everything he created was “good”, he rested.  I imagine God sitting somewhere in the garden admiring this beautiful creation and visiting with mankind.

Just as there was an entrance to the first garden, the Community Garden has erected arbors to invite and lead us onto the path in to the garden to not only a place of unending work but to a place of rest. Benches and a table have been strategically placed in the community garden to create an opportunity to sit alone, rest and reflect or visit with one another. Having these stopping and resting places allow us to step back and help us gain perspective how beautiful and wonderful creation is.

I wanted the church garden to be an extension of the Community Garden. Although there is ongoing work in maintaining and constructing the church garden, I envision that there be an arbor in front of the path leading us into the circular sitting area where there will be benches and possibly a table. Perhaps the path and circle could be a floor of paving stones. This area could be considered an “outdoor” living room, providing us with a place to rest, reflect, listen, or enter into conversation. The circle reminds me of God’s and the church’s unending circle of love that surrounds me; like a parent’s embrace of a child, or a hug between friends and the care and support Erin and I have received here over many years being a part of this community church circle.

When I found out that the church was re-landscaping I asked Charlie if I could help with the design and I pursued the help of an expert designer who I used before when I had a landscaping business as I know my plant material but do not have the gift of visualization. Christine and J had requested a sitting area to be incorporated into the design of the new garden. I also wanted to involve someone from the community garden and Maryanne Janzen came onboard to not only assist in the design and the construction of the community garden but support the design concept of the church garden and the link between the two gardens. I enjoyed working with Charlie on the design process and helped assist and supervise the work of the landscape contractor.

Through my work at corrections, I was allowed to take self-funded leave last winter which allowed me to have the luxury of time off to volunteer my help on this redesign of the church garden.

I would like to share some of my personal reflections.  The church garden reignited my “love” for gardening, being able to research landscape design and plant material.  Good landscape design incorporates hard-scapes, like the use of arbors, allan blocks, pavers, edging etc. and softscapes which is plant material. Plant material selection is guided by the principles of design and the elements of design. I selected plants that are low-maintenance or as we say in jail, “bullet-proof” based on existing site and soil conditions. I first select focal points and then companion groupings. I like to choose a mix of conifers, broadleafs and deciduous trees, shrubs, vines and ground covers. All-season interest using the elements of scale, line, form, texture and color is desirable. For me color is huge; watching nature wake up in spring and seeing the cacophony of vibrant color in plants gives me nothing but “pure” joy. Many men are addicted to pornography; but my wife says I am addicted to plant porn as I like to look at pictures of plants online or at the nursery.  She does not like to send me into a nursery with a credit card all alone. Who knows what I’ll be bringing home?

I have long known that I am a farmer at “heart” as I have followed the heart of my father and forefathers.  Since 1988, I began emerging into an “urban” farmer, apprenticing and becoming a full fledge journeyman in practical horticulture.  I like to refer to myself as a “landscraper” or as one former Highlander called me “the gardener” or at work where my coworker named me “Reggie Van Gardner”. This identity fits. I thoroughly enjoy the physical challenge of landscaping blended with the artistry. The closest analogy is like when I watch Patrick Chan figure skate; when he does the triple axle jump in perfect harmony to a music program. It is a thing of beauty. It is a fusion of athleticism and artistry.

As I approach the busy season of my work I need to take time to stop daily and admire the beauty of the gardens. I also need to rest from work and spend time with the ones I love. In the beginning God created heaven and earth, and on this earth he created a garden full of diversity, bounty and beauty.  After God saw that everything he created was “good”, he rested.

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Our 2015-16 garden season is now over although there are still winter crops to enjoy.  November is a time for gardeners to clean up their plots and tackle those few tidying chores that they couldn’t get to during the busy harvesting season.  This year over 70 gardens worked in their garden spaces bringing spouses, children, parents, friends and dogs in tow.  Drought conditions and excessive theft challenged gardeners and the committee this year. For the past few years volunteers of the garden have built a shed, entrance structures, a gazebo, planted trees and installed benches. Please go and enjoy the sacred space provided whether you are there to reflect, soak in the sun or enjoy the growing garden.

Today working alongside other volunteers at the Community Garden I felt that we were a peaceful resistance march like Martin Luther King encouraged.  We weren’t really marching but while the world focuses on killing, dumping fear on us and plundering our planet we are planting trees, tidying and bringing things to life.  It looks like a UN summit when our Kenyan, Hungarian and Russian gardeners put their heads together and consult about getting rid of nasty pests. We aren’t doing anything heroic that will reach the news or even cause anyone to slow down as they drive by on their Saturday errands.  But my work seems lighter, blisters are my sacrifice and as Anne Lamott says “I am in touch with a God who says, when there are riots, go pick up the litter in your own town. Do right. Oh yeah, and pray.”

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Our garden has been featured in Mustard Seed Associates’ newest resource Creating a Faith-Based Community Garden! Click on the link to view.

Highland community gardenWe’re glad you’ve found us. While the community garden is on the property of Highland Community church, we welcome neighbours and community members to garden with us!

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