A network of organizations in Greater Victoria is Growing Together to help residents plant food across the region.
The Good Food Network is a group of organizations from across the Capital Region working to create a robust local food system. As the COVID-19 pandemic amped up, they came together to discuss how best to support communities and came up with the Growing Together program, which launched April 24.
Growing Together helps residents in the Capital Regional District convert lawns, create raised beds and get planting on patios or even window sills.
“We know lots of people are trying growing food for the very first time, and we know that they may also be out of work, and facing challenges. We want to help them be successful,” says Linda Geggie, executive director of the non-profit CR-FAIR, which is coordinating the initiative.
The campaign provides knowledge, mentors, connections, tools and support, Geggie said. “It is designed to get folks outside, get their hands in the dirt, and there are lots of positive benefits for health and well-being in doing that.”
One secret to a good garden is good soil, and the Compost Education Centre is part of the Growing Together team to ensure gardeners are building good compost and soil.
“We aim to reconnect people back to the soil beneath their feet because it all starts with the soil,” said Cara Gibson, executive director of the Victoria Compost Education Centre. “Right now, people are paying attention. They’re curious, they’re asking ‘How do you compost?’ It’s a wonderful opportunity.”
The Compost Education Centre is on the growing list of participating organizations including well-known agencies such as Food Eco District, Lifecycles Project Society and Growing Chefs.
For eight years, Growing Chefs has run hands-on programs in elementary schools, teaching kids about cooking and gardening in the classroom. Typically Growing Chefs would be in classrooms right now. Instead, they are working to bring their lessons online.
“We will be sharing all of our video content as part of the Growing Together initiative,” said Christine Van Poelgeest, program assistant for Victoria.
Visit growingfood-together.com to access educational videos and resources, mentorship and links to sourcing seeds, plants and more.