Front Page Head Gardener

“Unretired seniors are working overtime”

By Denise Ryan
The Vancouver Sun
April 8, 2016


Sharon Slack, 73, head gardener at City Farmer in Kitsilano, said she finds the traditional idea of retirement preposterous.

“The whole image they sell you about retirement — all those TV ads that say: Retire! Do all the things you want to do! Travel! Entertain! Good grief,” she said. “I didn’t do that when I was young. Why in the world would I do it now?”

Slack loves her job, but work isn’t just a pleasure — it’s also a practical matter, she said.

“If we retire,” she said, “who’s going to pay our medical bills? We’re going to be living a lot longer than previous generations.”

Slack said many of her generation have children and grandchildren that live farther and farther away, so there are funds needed for travel to see family. Slack and her husband live in Dunbar — they bought their house 50 years ago for $12,500 and paid it off. But her daughter and son-in-law live in Langley.

Cover February 26, 2016.

Time to dig and plant as prices of imported produce stay sky high Now’s the time to start that backyard garden

By Kent Spencer
The Province
February 25, 2016


Sharon Slack, head gardener at City Farmer, has never counted the savings during 50 years’ endeavours at her Dunbar garden.

“It’s not about how much money I can save, but how much food I can grow,” she said.

According to Sharon Slack, head gardener at City Farmer: ‘It’s not about how much money I can save, but how much food I can grow.’

“You can never know about cost savings because every year is different — the weather, the bugs and the amount of time you can devote to it,” she said.

The time is ripe to rip out a patch of grass and make room for a food garden at home.

“Anything grown in the city is valuable and we try to give people encouragement,” said Mike Levenston of City Farmer in Vancouver, a non-profit at 2150 Maple St. that has been promoting urban farming for 38 years.

Head horticulturist Sharon Slack said it’s easy to get started.

“There are no mistakes in gardening, only experiments,” she said.

Michael Levenston