The Gardening Initiative

Feed The Valley

With the impact that COVID -19 may have on our food system, now is the time to grow more of our own food and increase our food security.

The idea of growing your own food might be overwhelming and that’s fair, it can be hard, laborious work. But, it’s also rewarding and can connect you with the earth and your source of food.  Gardening also nurtures a sense of community, while bringing your family together. There are a lot of resources out there explaining how to start a garden, where to start a garden, what crops are the best to grow, and a few hacks on growing during a pandemic.

Here are some ideas on how you can participate and GET GROWING – Columbia Valley!

Plant a family garden

Throughout history gardens have been a way of strengthening a country during hard times from the Victory Gardens, to Cuba turning its parking lots and entire country into productive agricultural space and even in 2011 the “dacha” gardens of Russia produced 40% of the nation’s food.

We can do just as well! Start by finding an area in your yard, acquiring pots for your balcony, planting herbs in your window, or if you’re feeling handy, building some raised beds wherever you have space. Think of the food you and your family love to eat fresh such as; carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, beets, lettuce etc. As well as, thinking about what foods you can grow and process and store for the future; tomato sauce, pickles, sauerkraut, carrots, potatoes, onions, beets.

Then if you’re completely new to this, contact experts at one of our local garden centres: Winderberry Nurseries, Patty’s Greenhouse, The Groundswell Community Greenhouse, Brisco Greenhouse, Home Hardware, Canadian Tire and Rona.  Winderberry Nursery recently posted a video on their facebook page, about starting seeds and how to plant them in your garden. If starting your own garden isn’t possible, talk to neighbours or friends and see who can help or who might have space in their garden to share or to share knowledge or tools to help you to grow some food.

Double your impact

If you are one of the fortunate ones who have a garden plot that is bigger than you need, or if it can be enlarged, partner with a friend or family who is not so fortunate and share the work and the harvest.

For example a group of neighbours in Dutch Creek started a conversation about creating a community garden network which included all their gardens, and they combined their space for food production and are working together to raise vegetables for the entire community.

You can do this too! If you are capable of growing food, reach out to those around you and see how you can help and who has space to grow but needs more hands.

Start a Youth Garden Project

If you have a network of friends with kids home from school, a great way to get them learning is to get their hands dirty. In Ireland they started an ‘Incredible Edibles’ youth challenge to encourage the school children across the country to learn about growing food and to develop their own skills in food production. The schools farmed five Irish crops, including potatoes, lettuces, cabbages, scallions and strawberries in their classroom. They were encouraged to make their own growing diaries which is where the kids’ creativity blossomed, including fruit and vegetable recipes; science experiments; arts and crafts and photographic accounts of the growing stages.
While students have had to move to a home-schooling model which can be a difficult transition, starting a growing project is a great learning alternative.
So, all you budding gardeners out there, go ahead and start a Youth Garden Project on your own or with a group of friends. You might even get to make a business out of it!  Who needs a lemonade stand when you can sell carrots? Come together with a group of youth and join the WDFI Farmers’ Market at the Crossroads, who will waive the stall fee if youth gardeners want to sell their products when the Agri-Park Farmers’ Market resumes this summer.