KCR Community Resources and Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society are partnering to strengthen food security, build food literacy and beautify downtown Kelowna through the community care garden project.
On Tuesday, volunteers from both organizations were on hand to help plant tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, carrots, kale, various greens and more in the 14 raised garden beds that will grow over 250 pounds of food to be distributed to vulnerable families.
Volunteers were taught how to garden by an experienced volunteer gardening teacher, Dianne Bondaroff.
The garden beds are adjacent to both organizations’ offices at Leon Avenue and Bertram Street and will be tended by volunteers throughout the summer and early fall, with weekly fresh food deliveries being made by KCR’s community outreach team.
“We had a bumper crop last year and were able to deliver over 145 bags of fresh veggies to vulnerable families and individuals, who felt nourished on all levels, especially during such a time of crisis,” said Ellen Boelcke, KCR’s executive director.
“We have learned a few lessons about what grows well and so Diane Bonderoff, the head community gardener, has tweaked the plantings this year to grow even more veggies that can be distributed.”
The project was the idea of Paul Zuurbier, executive director of Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society, who had been wanting to offer a program around food literacy for immigrant families who may not be aware of what vegetables are available in the Central Okanagan and how to use them and so when he recognized the food security concerns raised through the pandemic, he thought is was a great way to address both of these issues.
Twenty-four volunteers quickly stepped up to build the planters last year and also to plant, maintain and harvest the crops, committing 144 hours of their time.
Also new to the Garden is the support of FortisBC, who came on board to proudly sponsor the initiative.