2023 Food Garden Contest ‘’
As part of promoting and supporting food security, the Agricultural Advisory Committee runs an annual Food Garden Contest, with the 2023 theme of ‘Choose Your Theme’. Participants are judged on the quality and range of food grown, the health of the plants, gardening practices, garden design and artistic expression. Judging will be done in late summer by photo submission.
Everyone is welcome to enter, all ages, families, individuals, groups, no experience necessary! We are happy to see a variety of gardens, large and small, containers, raised beds, in ground, vertical, patio, front yard, back yard, roof top, etc. Gardeners are encouraged to get creative with their space through the use of artistic expression and keeping in mind all the beneficial plantings that support our pollinators!
*Themes for the garden could include: grow your salad, salsa garden, pizza dinner, or any other creative idea you want (see resource list below for more information)
The 2023 Food Garden Contest will be receiving entries starting on May 3, 2023.
Enter yourself or nominate a neighbour by the June 4, 2023 deadline. The first 50 gardeners who enter can pick up one free bag of compost (mushroom manure) compliments of the Laity Farm Plant Sale (21145 128 Avenue). Please note that compost will be provided on a first come, first serve basis and participants are eligible for one bag only.
Here’s how to enter:
- Take a “before” photo of your garden.
- Send an email with the subject line "Food Garden Contest 2023" to firstname.lastname@example.org with:
- The "before" photo (one to two only).
- Your name, address, phone number, and email address
Judging will be done in late summer by way of photo submission. We ask that you take pictures of your garden throughout the growing season, in bloom, or as you see fit, to showcase the criteria mentioned above (quality of food grown, the health of the plants, gardening practices, garden design, artistic expression, themes, etc.) We will accept up to five (during or after) photos of your garden as a submission for the judging. The deadline for the five-photo submission will be September 1, 2023. You can submit a 200-word description (max) of your experience along with the photos; however, this description is completely optional.
Grand Prize Winners will be contacted after judging is complete. Prizes will include items or gift certificates from local businesses.
- May 3, 2023: Contest Opens
- June 4, 2023: Deadline to Enter
- September 1, 2023: Deadline for Final Photo Submissions
Compost Pick-up from Laity Farm Plant Sale, open April 21 – May 31.
Plant-a-Row, Grow-a-Row, Donate-a-Row
The Agricultural Advisory Committee is proud to support the ‘Plant-a-Row, Grow-a-Row, Donate-a-Row initiative, which supports local food security and further helps to provide healthy and nutritious food options for our local foodbank. Please see attached link for details.
*It is noted there is no need to sign up for this initiative, and that donations (washed with dirt removed) are accepted at the foodbank Monday to Friday mornings, before noon.
Helpful Gardening Resources:
For more information please contact Adam Rieu, Agricultural Advisory Committee Staff Liaison email@example.com
Speaker: Darcy Smith
This event took place on July 23, 2022 during the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Country Fest Event.
This session, featuring the ‘Young Agrarians’, provided an overview of the BC Land Matching Program, and discussed what goes into creating a solid land arrangement.
About Young Agrarians: Young Agrarians is a farmer-to-farmer educational resource network for new and young farmers in Canada. Our work is to grow the next generation through access to land, mentorship, apprenticeship, community, resources and more. youngagrarians.org
About the B.C. Land Matching Program: The B.C. Land Matching Program (BCLMP), delivered by Young Agrarians, provides personalized land matching and business support services to farmers looking for land to start or expand their farm, and landholders interested in finding someone to farm their land. The advantage of working with a Land Matcher is free hands-on support to understand regulations, evaluate opportunities, access resources, and ultimately find a land match. The program addresses the high cost of land as a significant barrier for those seeking to enter the B.C. agriculture industry. There is no cost to participate, and our services are available to farmers and landholders of all ages across B.C. youngagrarians.org/bc-land-matching-program/
Speaker: Dieter Geesing
This event took place on October 20, 2021 via Zoom. You can see a copy of the presentation slides here.
Soil loves compost and composting reduces landfill waste. In this session, Dieter discussed all things compost: the science behind composting, compost materials, structures, equipment and touch on various composting methods – from bins to drums, from vermicompost to bokashi.
Speaker: Paul Van Westendorp
This event took place on Jul 22, 2021 via Zoom.
Many of the world’s flowering plants are dependent on pollinators for their reproduction. The transfer of pollens from one flower to another flower ensures seed and fruit set. While there are various kinds of pollinators including birds, marsupials and mammals, the majority of pollinators are insects. Over millions of years, insect pollinators have co-evolved with flowering plants to meet each other’s’ dietary and reproductive needs.
This presentation focused on the extraordinary diversity of pollinators and their critical role in maintaining sustainable environments. It also included suggestions for what the public can do to enhance and preserve pollinator populations.
Let’s Get Farming took place April 4, 2019. The AAC invited Dr. Kent Mullinix (Director, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at KPU), Kim Grout (CEO, Agricultural Land Commission) and Chris Zabek (Agrologist, Ministry of Agriculture) to speak to the challenges and solutions to achieving food self-reliance as well as the importance of preserving farmland for future generations.
Talking About Backyard Hens
Throughout 2018, the City of Maple Ridge’s Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) has been looking at options to accommodate backyard hens in residential areas in Maple Ridge. Over the summer of 2018, City staff and members of the AAC attended community events to talk about backyard hens in Maple Ridge. Event information boards are available to review here.
At the December 11, 2018 Council Workshop meeting, City staff presented a summary of the consultation activities and feedback. A copy of the staff report is available here. The meeting was recorded and is available for online viewing here. At the December meeting, Council directed staff, in consultation with the AAC, to prepare an Options Report that would explore possible regulatory measures that could permit the keeping of backyard hens in Maple Ridge.
As a follow-up, on June 4, 2019, staff presented a report outlining possible regulatory directions for Council consideration. A copy of the staff report prepared for the June 4, 2019 Council Workshop is available here (Item 4.4). At that meeting, Council tabled the presentation and discussion to a future Council Workshop.
City staff presented the Options Report at the June 18 Council Workshop meeting. Council discussed the keeping of backyard hens in residential areas of Maple Ridge and determined that, given the immediate priorities of Council and limited staff resources, that no further work on backyard hens would take place at this time. Council will re-consider this project during a future business planning process. A copy of the staff report is available here. (Item 4.3) and the meeting was live streamed and available online here.
Updates will be provided online as well as via email. If you wish to be included on the City of Maple Ridge Agriculture Update email list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check back regularly for information about the conversation on backyard hens in Maple Ridge.
The Maple Ridge AAC has a grant program that provides small disbursements to worthy organizations involved in promoting agriculture who may not qualify for other grant opportunities. The AAC also provides ongoing support to Country Fest and the Haney Farmers Market.
Interested in being considered for a grant? Fill out an application form (PD