A Calgary community group is being forced to move in the name of progress by the Alberta government but organizers say the idea could have a negative impact on their organization.

Grow Calgary, the city’s largest urban garden, provides healthy, fresh food to those in need says it’s been told by the government that it will need to move its operation to make way for development of the ring road in 2019.

The portion of the project that will impact their operation is an interchange that will overlap a corner of the plot they use to cultivate crops.

Paul Hughes, executive director of Grow Calgary, says it’s a difficult conversation to have with the government.

“We are working with them and we do have a good relationship. People who are landlords and tenants have good relationships but sometimes the landlord says ‘hey, I need you to move’ and then the tenant is like ‘well, why?’”

Hughes says that a vast majority of the land they use isn’t involved in the issue.

“Why does 100 percent need to move if only 10 percent is impacted?”

Instead of bending in the wind, Grow Calgary says it wants the government to take another look and provide more information on how their land will be utilized, especially because current drawings show that their property won’t be affected at all by construction.


“We are simply asking some questions and we would like to get some answers,” Hughes says.

Grow Calgary has been given a deadline of December 31, 2018 to move their operations and Hughes adds that he will not stand against the government order if it comes to that, but the land that his group uses is public property.

“This is Crown land. This is the people’s land as well. The province is stewards of that land and we are stewards of that land and we feel we have a right to ask some questions.”

Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier said that the government is open to working with Grow Calgary to help them find a new spot.

“It’s my understanding that that spot maybe wasn’t optimal anyway. They had to haul water and things like that. So, working with the department, maybe we could find an even better spot.”

To participate in the discussion or to learn more about the relocation of Grow Calgary, send an e-mail to farm@growcalgary.ca.

(With files from Alesia Fieldberg)