Spring Ridge Commons is Canada`s oldest public food forest and Victoria’s largest public permaculture garden or community multi-layer food forest , located on a 1/2 acre city lot in Fernwood at the corner of Chambers and Gladstone. This premier site for small scale urban permaculture has been visited by over 20,000 people over the last 15 years of being a living laboratory for food, medicine and functional plants. Spring Ridge Commons serves as a source of free food, a learning environment, a community space and most importantly a place of beauty, nature and solitude.
Spring Ridge Commons is an example of what is possible when you transform an under-utilized, marginal spaces ( a barren gravel lot) into a productive space both in terms of yields such as food and medicines and in terms of social yields such as experiences of beauty, nature and solitude, recreation, learning, a sense of belong through contribution to a common space and experimenting with new relationships to land and people.
At various points during the season, the garden produces strong yields of goumi, pie cherries, seabuckthorn, damson plums, medlars, and especially desert king figs. There are secondary yields of several more fruit species, as a well as a number of herbs. A home for many native birds (including hummingbirds) plus bees and other insects, the Common is intended to be a place where community members can meet, engage and grow on land held in common.
Spring Ridge Commons functions as a commons, or land held in common although the land on which Spring Ridge Commons exists is owned by Victoria School District 61. The School District has leased the land for a dollar a year to three leaseholders since Spring Ridge Commons was created in 1999. The Fernwood Community Association (FCA) – 1999 to May 2007, The LifeCycles Project Society (LifeCycles) May 2007- Fall 2010, and currently the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group (NRG) since Fall 2o1o.