Spending time in a garden can be incredibly therapeutic, relaxing, and exciting. Watching seeds grow into food, being directly involved in the whole process, and knowing exactly where it came from is very empowering. This is why Power To Be is so happy to be able to offer the gardening experience to our participants.

The City of Victoria is collaborating with community partners and non-profit organizations to provide vegetable and herb seedlings to those who need help most, and Power To Be has the great pleasure of being one of those organizations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed interest in community resilience and food security, and many people have expressed interest in learning to garden to supplement their food supplies. In April 2020, City Council directed staff to temporarily reprioritize operations in the existing municipal nursery in Beacon Hill Park for the growth and distribution of food starts to be shared over the 2020 growing season. As many as 75,000 edible plant starts are being grown by the City and distributed by community partners. Along with providing this resource to our own participants, Power To Be is utilizing our vehicles and staff to transport seedlings to various communities, community partners, and other non-profit organizations.

This amazing program is providing a selection of the top 15 vegetable and herb starts for easy growing by the novice gardener, and suitable for a variety of locations, such as garden beds in yards or container gardening on decks and balconies. The selections are cucumbers, zucchini, squash, broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens, chard, kale, basil, tomatoes, parsley, and lettuce. The City procured 100,000 local seeds from Southern Vancouver Island farms and through the BC Eco Seed Co-op. Many people are eligible to receive plants, but priority is being given to people who are financially or physically impacted by the pandemic and that have a desire to grow food but may have limited access to plants and garden materials, or are facing barriers to access fresh, locally grown food.

In addition to acquiring seedlings and educational resources from the City and through the CRFAIR growing together campaign, Power To Be has built various sizes of planter boxes and obtained garden soil so recipients can start this project with everything they need to be successful. These garden boxes were made possible by a generous contribution by Home Lumber and Building Supplies and an anonymous donor.

 This is an umbrella initiative that so many of our community partners benefit from. We will be supporting this at the top end and ensuring that our community and beyond are getting the resources they need to be successful in growing food. By becoming a hub, we are providing our own community with more resources to be successful in novice gardening and in providing food for their household. Giving people an opportunity to recreate safely as well as to apply themselves and learn a skill that has lifelong benefits. This initiative is about more than just learning to garden. Food insecurity is something that many communities and community members experience on a daily basis. This initiative is providing people with an opportunity to gain a skill, provide for themselves, to reconnect with the land, and reconnect with traditions.

We are so excited to be able to provide this new incredible resource through the Get Growing Victoria initiative to our participants and to continue to support our community during this unique time. Be sure to check out the video below!

“With everyone concerned about food security the importance of growing your own food is more important than ever. I hope that there are more of these types of initiatives in the future. Let’s all get growing and support local farms and growers.”

-Marnie Essery, Chair, Intermunicipal Advisory Committee on Disability Issues

This blog was written by Sarah Glenn, Power To Be’s Logistics Coordinator. Sarah’s unique approach to facilitation supports youth and families in recognizing their capabilities, strengthening their relationship with themselves and each other.