People’s Pea Garden protests at Toronto City Hall
Today at Toronto’s City Hall members from the People’s Pea Garden protested about the city destroying a community garden that was planted on May 1 in Queen’s Park.
The garden was in plan view and had been very public with media coverage and police watching the planting when it took place. While the group, mainly members from the Toronto Occupy Movement, did not have a permit for the garden it appeared all was well.
Throughout the summer the garden was tended to by up to 200 community members. Those members included professors from the University of Toronto to people who live on the streets of Toronto. As produce ripened members enjoyed their efforts. On Saturday a planned community harvest was to take place but on Friday city workers came in with shovels, destroying the garden.
Friday City of Toronto parks director Richard Ubbens said that no one with the garden was contacted because they didn’t know who to contact. This is despite the fact that a sign, that the city removed and kept, had the contact information of those involved.
Today one of the members of the garden Jacob Kearey-Moreland spoke out during the protest about the city’s actions.
The protest was peaceful with a small gathering of police. One member of the protest was asked to leave the area because of a probation order. He did so without protest, after being allowed to tell the group the reasoning for his departure.
City Councllor Adam Vaughan spoke a short time after the protest at City Hall about the garden. He said that while the meaning behind the garden was a good one planting in a city park without permission is just not allowed in Toronto.
Vaughan didn’t know the full story behind the garden and when told that the garden had been in place since May 1 and was only removed the day before a planned harvest responded that was simply mean spirited.
“The growers should have been allowed to harvest the crops and then told not to repeat the action again,” Vaughan said.
While some media reports this weekend put the blame on the city’s actions on Mayor Rob Ford this was not the case. The parks department didn’t go to the city council about their plans.