First Peoples

Pussy Willows and Land for All

Welcome to the road ditch: a prime spring habitat. First, to an Okanagan Indian Band ditch…

Pussy Willow Preparing to Bloom

Imagine the sound of cars roaring past behind your back, and you have the full scene.

There’s enough room in those ditches for an entire agricultural industry supplying florists with Easter’s sproing.

Pussy Willow with Abandoned Pasture

Traditional agriculture is often a historical artifact in the Okanagan, but when this photographer stopped for these photos, people waved with joy … or maybe just laughter. 

Pussy Willows are short-lived. If they’re going to look their best, they need care. When left to their own devices, they soon look like they do in this wet slope watered by a road embankment ten minutes south of band lands:

Pussy Willows and Rose Hips, Ewing

At the right point in the spring, two years come together in one. The dump truck guy who roared past with a full load waved. When’s the last time you saw that in a high density apple orchard surrounded by a ten foot deer fence?

The ditch: an area owned by entire communities, even multiple communities at once. What a great place for innovation in community development, water use, and agriculture. Ditches are at the edges of things … but in a way that also puts them at the centre. And they’re everywhere. All together, that’s a lot of space for a public to grow.

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