In Vancouver, climate change is projected to lead to more precipitation in winter and less in summer. It’s also expected to bring severe storms and droughts, and increases in temperature and carbon dioxide.
Bearing in mind these “slow” and “fast” changes, people growing food in the city should consider cultivating “resilient gardens”, Tara Moreau told the Georgia Straight.
“You’re wanting to basically create gardens that can bounce back from strange weather occurrences or that can be resilient to periods of drought or periods of extreme rain,” Moreau said by phone from the UBC Botanical Garden, where she’s the associate director for sustainability and community programs.
On Thursday (July 10), the ecologist was scheduled to teach a class about gardens and climate change, as part of the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation’s Urban Farmer Field School. But it was cancelled due to lack of interest. Still, Moreau hopes to try again on August 28.
“This is always a very hard class to fill, because people typically don’t sign up for a workshop that has climate change in the title,” she said.
Moreau, who’s a cochair of the Vancouver food policy council, encourages gardeners to think about how their plants and plots will handle a hotter climate. She asserted the availability of water and pollinators will be “key” factors in the future.
Drip irrigation, mulch, and rainwater collection can increase water efficiency, Moreau noted. She advises gardeners to create pollinator habitat and avoid buying plants treated with pesticides that may be harmful to bees.
In her classes, Moreau endeavours to focus on the “positive”.
“In my understanding of people’s behavioural change, they don’t really want to talk about climate change and scary concepts,” Moreau said. “But they are happy to talk about gardening and how to create healthy, resilient gardens.”