Welcome Gardens!


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Welcome          Gardens 

 Welcome Gardens brings newcomers and local residents together to grow food in household and community gardens.  Participants receive and share resources to help start their food gardens, attend learning workshops and tours and connect with local agricultural initiatives.  

Participants are new and experienced gardeners, helping each other by exchanging horticultural knowledge and sharing resources while building a community of growers!

Welcome Gardeners include folks from Taiwan, Palestine, Mexico, Syria, Germany, Japan, Iran, China, Colombia, Venezuela, England, Poland, Lebanon, the US and Canada, ranging in age from 10 to 76 years old. All are Welcome to join our growing community! We especially appreciate the engagement of those who identify as indigenous.

If you would like to be a Welcome Gardens participant, are seeking or offering garden space, or would like to know more about our food gardens community, please email welcomegardens@vircs.bc.ca . All levels of skills and experience welcome.


Come join us in growing and learning

together in our food gardens!




Welcome Gardens Shared Garden Network


Victoria Immigrant & Refugee Centre Society’s Welcome Gardens help connect newcomers and local residents of Victoria to grow food together in shared gardens and boulevards. Shared garden spaces, garden resources and community workshops provide opportunities to make new connections, share and cultivate diverse horticultural and culinary knowledge, and enjoy nutritious, local produce straight from the garden!


We are now actively seeking newcomers and fellow community members in need of gardening space as well as those willing to use their land or unused greenhouse space for the greater good of growing food. Volunteers are welcome to provide support with garden matches, workshops, outreach, website development, communication, and a helping hand in the garden. Those with gardening or cooking experience and knowledge are invited to share their skills with new, developing, and fellow seasoned gardeners and cooks.


Community members seeking garden space will be matched with landowners & community spaces that have available garden sites. 

  • Suitable matches are based on geographical location, choice preference, and resource requirements.

  • A customized pairing agreement will be made between landowners and participants. Once paired together a shared garden design and plan is created.

  • Participants actively grow food for themselves and the community in garden spaces that would otherwise be under-utilized.


Welcome Gardens provides opportunities to:

- Feed yourself, your family and your community with local, nutritious and affordable produce

- Share, gain and expand diverse gardening and cooking skills in community

- Access gardening resources & educational opportunities

- Share multicultural food practices and grow culturally-preferred foods 

- Learn, laugh, and share food & friendship with community members from around the world

- Help care for our planet and its people 


Welcome Gardens Support       

For the last four growing seasons, Welcome Gardens has been funded by grants fom the Victoria Foundation and New Horizons for Seniors Program. Additionally, a Canadian Heritage grant is currently supporting the growth of Welcome Gardens' Shared Garden Network, connecting newcomers and local residents to grow food together in underutilized public and private garden spaces throughout Greater Victoria. Both the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Society Centre  and Welcome Gardens are thankful for the abundance of support!


An extra special thank you to the participants, volunteers and community collaborators whose energy, insights and helping hands allow Welcome Gardens to thrive! Also, a very special thank you goes out to Fiona Hamersley Chamber for her generous donations of seeds, seedlings, fruit bushes and much much more! Chambers is the owner and operator of Metchosin Farms and proud to support the opportunities which Welcome Gardens offers the community.


Get Involved!

There are many ways to participate or volunteer. Choose what works best for you!


  • If you or someone you know needs garden space or has extra space to share with new and experienced gardeners, join the Welcome Gardens Shared Garden Network!


  • Youth Media Production & Media Mentorship - Help to capture participants’ experiences, stories, and the evolution of the shared gardens. Create and publish content through Welcome Gardens’ social media platforms. Assist with project promotion, website design & development and graphic design. Mentor students in developing their digital media production and communications skills!


  • Community Engagement & Outreach - Recruit and engage participants and volunteers to participate in the project through: offering land or utilizing others’ garden spaces to grow food; sharing knowledge, skills and resources around gardening and cooking/processing food; helping others in their gardens; garden design, creation and maintenance; providing support to garden matches, & more! 


  • Event Planning & Group Facilitation - Help to develop, participate and volunteer at workshops. Interview participants about their skills, interests and goals. Help to identify resources and create or facilitate opportunities for learning. Share knowledge, skills and laughs while gardening, cooking and preserving food in community

  • Garden Design & Construction - Help to design and install gardens using regenerative, organic, space-efficient gardening principles. Build raised beds, vertical garden structures, container gardens, composts, rainwater harvesting systems and more!


  • Garden Mentorship & Worker Bees - Lend a helping hand in the garden to beginner and blossoming gardeners from around the world, facilitate shared garden matches/partnerships, deliver materials to shared gardens and connect new gardeners to community gardening resources 


  • Interpretation & Translation - Use your language skills to include and support individuals and communities who communicate in different languages. Facilitate intercultural communication between participants


  • Join Welcome Gardens gatherings - Free workshops, garden resources and a community of people from around the world who are interested in learning and teaching about growing food


  • Lead or join a Cooking Workshop/Potluck - Share your skills and favorite dishes with others and learn to cook multicultural dishes from fellow Welcome Gardeners


  • Interview & Collect Stories - Record and share stories and interviews with participants about their experiences with gardening, food, and the Welcome Gardens Shared Garden Network - Get creative!

Contact welcomegardens@vircs.bc.ca to find out more about these & other opportunities


Welcome Gardens Fast Facts:

• Welcome Gardens combines food production and social connection to directly address food security issues immigrant and refugees may face as newcomers to Victoria. 

• Welcome Gardens food production objectives are to support participants in developing or expanding their local horticultural skills and knowledge, food literacy and growing skills. 

• Welcome Gardens provides the opportunity for Intercultural understandings and multi-generational friendships through opportunities to work and learn together.  

• Welcome Gardens offers community resources that can help participants grow and preserve food for their household and the community.  

• Welcome Gardens social connection objectives are to support participants in learning  about each other’s food culture, to promote meaningful and self-directed engagement in their learning and mentoring roles; and, in receiving or offering informal support to each other.  

• Welcome Gardens participants share resources to prepare gardens, grow food, and make friends through gardening and cooking together.  



Welcome Gardens Past Newsletters                                      

Welcome Gardens! Newsletter June,18, 2017

Welcome Gardens! Newsletter June,13, 2017

Welcome Gardens! Newsletter June,7, 2017

Welcome Gardens! Newsletter June, 5, 2017

Welcome Gardens Newsletter May, 29, 2017

Welcome Gardens! Newsletter May, 24, 2017

Welcome Gardens! Newsletter May, 9, 2017

Welcome Gardens! Newsletter May,4, 2017

Welcome Gardens! NewsletterApril,18, 2017

Welcome Gardens! NewsletterApril,4, 2017

Welcome Gardens! Newsletter March,30, 2017

Welcome Gardens! NewsletterMarth,19, 2017

Welcome Gardens! Newsletter March,16, 2017

Welcome Gardens! Newsletter February, 20, 2017