Volunteers in the Shuswap Community Teaching Garden get to work in April despite some hail and cooler temperatures. The volunteers include: Wanda Slobodian, Elmarie Roberts, Rita McGreggor and other dedicated residents. (Shuswap Food Action Society photo)

Volunteers in the Shuswap Community Teaching Garden get to work in April despite some hail and cooler temperatures. The volunteers include: Wanda Slobodian, Elmarie Roberts, Rita McGreggor and other dedicated residents. (Shuswap Food Action Society photo)

‘It’s a good year to share’: Shuswap Food Action suggests growing a row of food for others

More demand in the Shuswap for food from people who are stretched by high housing prices

Putting food on the table is getting more difficult for more people in the Shuswap.

The Shuswap Food Action Society has noticed this based on discussions with community partners, explained Melanie Bennett, project and volunteer coordinator with the society.

“It’s a big topic,” Bennett said, noting it is often tied to the high cost of housing. “When you have a person with a fixed income, what are they supposed to do? An entire disability cheque is going to the cost of housing, so they need food.”

She said people end up cutting corners on food, yet food is so important to resilience, especially fresh food.

Bennett said an initiative called Grow a Row sounds like a fantastic fit for the Shuswap. Those people who have gardens grow extra in order to provide for those people who don’t – or even share space with people who have none.

At GrowARow.org, the website has a step-by-step guide on how to start a Plant-Grow-Share A Row campaign in a community.

Bennett said she’s hopeful organizations in the Salmon Arm area might form leadership groups to partner with the Shuswap Food Action Society.

“The only actionable solution right now, we’re going to have to grow food and share it,” she said. She would also love to see more youth involved, particularly when options for youth in Salmon Arm can be limited.

Shuswap Food Action has several initiatives, such as the Shuswap Community Teaching Garden, now in its seventh season, where new learners and seasoned gardeners can work together to grow produce to share with local food banks and volunteers. People can also just stop by to receive guidance on how to grow their own gardens. To learn more about Shuswap Food Action and its projects, visit shuswapfood.ca.

“It’s a good year to share,” said Bennett, noting the uncertain times. “There are so many studies how giving back is so good for mental health and resiliency. There’s not a lot we can do to help people in Ukraine or South America right now, but we can help people here… There’s so much space and we usually have a good growing season.”

Read more: Shuswap Food Action incorporates fresh local foods in school meal program

Read more: Food prices soar to record levels on Ukraine war disruptions



martha.wickett@saobserver.net
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