Let's talk about...seeding change

LOCATION: 150-9th Avenue SW Calgary
Seeding change was located in the lobby and front plaza of a 30 story office tower. Sited on the diagonal in order to not obstruct views of the historic Palliser Hotel across the street, the design offers a generous front plaza.


Seeding Change explored informal urbanism and how moves such as urban gardening can foster community and allow for the growing of food. The event included an exhibition, a plaza activation, a discussion, and a family activity. 

The exhibition: Hands on Urbanism: How to Make a Difference was in the lobby. The plaza activation (front plaza) featured hand-made seating, a collection of chairs community project, weaving and a sculpture. The discussion explored the history of the Vacant Lots Garden Club as well as current practices like fruit tree gleaners, SPIN farming, and urban and community gardening. The idea was, what if an empty lot or a rooftop could serve as an opportunity?

Adrian Buckley / Urban Harvest Project
Andrew Hewson / SAIT Polytechnic 
Mike Ricketts / Bridgeland/Riverside Vacant Lots Garden
Dennis Scanland / YYC Growers and Distributors 
Rick Gendron / 818 Studio (moderator) 

The Family Event: Terrarium-building facilitated by: Aron Hill / Workshop: Creative Community Space 


Edit courtesy of Sergey Abramov

The Bridgeland/Riverside Vacant Lots garden is Calgary’s only community garden with heritage status. The garden has a unique history dating back to 1914 as the Vacant Lots Garden Club (1914-1952), which provided growing space for less fortunate residents, and beautification of vacant under-utilized lots. The garden is currently a community garden for Bridgeland/Riverside residents.

The Jackson Henuset Memorial Garden at SAIT Polytechnic is a learning garden entering its fifth growing season. Conceived by Andrew Hewson, the garden encourages students to connect their culinary arts training with agriculture and sustainability issues (Culinary Agro Literacy).

A wealth of unpicked fruit in the city of Calgary led Adrian Buckley to found the Urban Harvest Project, a database of “donated” privately owned fruit trees to be harvested by volunteers when fruit is ripe and redistributed within the city of Calgary.

Underutilized yard space is an opportunity for diversifying urban agriculture in Calgary. YYC Growers and Distributors is an alliance of urban/SPIN (Small Plot Intensive Farming) farmers in Calgary who have joined forces to create a market for their produce.

EXHIBITION SUMMARY (building lobby)
Hands on Urbanism: How to Make a Difference
Hands on Urbanism is an exhibition, curated by Elke Kransy, that explores urban gardening through the lens of informal settlements and the politics of space. The exhibition shared the stories of numerous citizen-led acts that responded to urban pressures and led to a collective community ambition. The exhibition panels were installed in an office lobby with the intent to make the exhibition accessible to street traffic and to reflect informality.

A collection of acts that included repurposing pallets, second-hand wood, weaving and white plastic chairs transformed the under-utilized downtown plaza. Numerous community volunteers participated in transforming granite into a green haven and social space.

Thank you to our event partner: First Calgary Financial.

Hands-on Production: Tamara Lee (ChairISH), Lane Shordee (Circular Pallet Bench), Jayda Karsten (Woven Tree Screen and Plant Baskets), Steve Reither (Tire and Pallet Bench), Green Gate Garden Centres (Indoor Plant Material and Pallet Gardens), The City of Calgary (Plant Material), We Are the Filters (Sculpture / Sled Island), Julie Wons (Seeding Change sign), Shannon Lanigan (PVC Pipe Planters), Reclaimed Trading Co. (Wood), Armour Equipment (Scaffolding), Hines Canada Management (lobby and plaza). Installation and design support: d.talks board and d.talks team, with particular thanks to Alicia Yip, Ernest Hon, Jesus Martin Ruiz, Lindsay Horan, and Tammy Primeau. 

Event contributors: Caffe Rosso, PLANT, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, Urban Ag Project.

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going at hello[at]dtalks[dot]org.