Grow Regina came into existence in 1994 when a group of community volunteers joined forces with the City of Regina and The Regina Food Bank to make use of empty space near the corner of College Avenue and Broad Street to form one of the largest community gardens in Regina.
The project began with 127 irrigated garden plots and by 1997 were 275 plots – feeding hundreds of families all over Regina.
In 2005 the site was sold, after which Grow Regina temporarily relocated to Wascana Centre Authority. In 2006 Grow Regina decided to focus its resources on finding a new more permanent home and suspended garden operations, although Grow Regina remained active on a number other projects.
One such project was the successful 1345 Rae Street Community Garden which was a joint partnership between Grow Regina and the North Central Community Association. In the spring and summer of 2007, Grow Regina volunteers, North Central Community Association members and local residents came together to build a mini oasis on an abandoned lot owned by the City in North Central Regina.
In cooperation with the City of Regina and working under the new Community Garden Policy, Grow Regina began its search which culminated in 2007 when a 3.5 acre parcel of land known as McLeod Park in southwest Regina at 3500 Queen Street was made available. Officially, designated a municipal park; the land is leased to Grow Regina on a 5 year renewable basis by the City of Regina under the terms of the Community Garden Policy.
Initial site and soil preparation began in the fall of 2007, with irrigation and pathway construction beginning in the spring of 2008 the garden was ready to plant by June. The season commenced with 150 families actively gardening. The first community orchard in Saskatchewan was started with the planting of 39 trees and shrubs. Grow Regina was fully allocated by the 2009 garden season, with over 200 families renting plots.
YARA Belle Plaine, formerly known as Saskferco Products Inc., Nov 2007 donated $50,000 to offset the capital cost of establishing the gardens. In addition to being an industry leader of nitrogen fertilizer products, YARA prides itself on being a leader in the community. YARA was included in Grow Regina’s name to recognize the company’s generous contribution.
City of Regina provided a community development grant for site preparation. Clifton and Associates provided their professional services for a phase one environmental study.
Grow Regina incorporated and the first annual meeting, with elections, were held in the spring of 2013. The Governance Committee which had a considerable task moving to an incorporation as a non-profit association separating us from our past relationship with the Regina Food Bank. We have appreciated the significant support of the Regina Food Bank over many years which helped Grow Regina to achieve its success and independence. Grow Regina exists to operate and promote gardens as a healthy source of fresh vegetables and a place where people come together to build community.
Past Board Chairs
- Wendy Patterson, 1995-1996
- Karen Rutten, 1997-1998
- Debbie Fetch (co-Chairperson), 1997
- Kit Krozser, 1998-1999
- Terence McKague, 2001-2002
- Fraser Hunter, 2003
- Margaret Fry, 2004
- Pier Binda, 2005-2006
- John Fagan, 2007-2008
- Karen Watkins, 2009 – 2010
- John Fagan (V/Chair), 2010-2011
- Yvette Crane, 2011 – 2018
- Cameron Ulledal, 2018 – present