There is quite a lot going on in food security work on the Upper Sunshine Coast. Here are some of the local initiatives you might want to get involved with.
The Kale Force is a monthly potluck and discussion group that brings people together to work on solutions for improving regional food security. Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month, at the Community Resource Centre (4752 Joyce Ave.) in Powell River. The meeting starts at 5:00 PM with a potluck, so bring food if you can, but show up no matter what. It’s a good place to meet with like-minded folks.
There are a number of community gardens in the region:
- The Seventh Day Adventist Church in Powell River graciously makes some of its land available every year to people from the community who want a little patch of land to call their own. If you are interested in helping out at that garden, which is on Manson Ave. near Alberni St. in Powell River, or are interested in having a garden bed for yourself or your family, please contact the church at (604) 485-7106.
- Kelly Creek Community Church hosts a community garden south of Powell River. For more information, contact Pastor Mike Martinig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Sliammon Community Garden is located beside Ahms Tah Ow School in Slammon and is open to members of that First Nations community. For more information, contact Michael Peterson (Ahms Tah Ow teacher) at (604) 483-9646 extension 232.
There is a demonstration garden at the Community Resource Centre (4752 Joyce Ave.) in Powell River. If you would like to get more involved there and spend time learning how to grow food in your own garden, please contact the Community Resource Centre at (604) 485-0992 or email the manager Liz Lane at email@example.com.
Good Food Box
The Good Food Box is a proven model operating in many communities to help people buy more fresh fruits and vegetable for less money. The Good Food Box in Powell River has been active for ten years, was started by a grant from Health Canada, and now is primarily self-sustained. It functions like a buying group, but there is no membership or long-term commitment. You buy a Good Food Box ahead of time and you pick up what you bought a couple of weeks later at a neighborhood depot. We are staffed by volunteers, function on a cost recovery basis and are committed to remaining in Powell River for many years to come! For more information, contact coordinator Annabelle Tully-Barr at (604) 485-8213.
Skookum Gleaners (formerly the Powell River Fruit Tree Project)
The Powell River Fruit Tree Project was originally started in 2004 as a project of the Green Party, and ran for one year. In 2006, it was revived, and 2009 will be the fourth year of continued operation. the project works closely with the Bear Aware Program and the Powell River Food Security Project to make sure that all unwanted fruit is gathered and distributed wisely within our community. Generally, 1/3 of the gathered fruit goes to the owner of the tree; 1/3 to the pickers; and 1/3 goes to local food banks or charitable organizations. For more information, contact Anne Michaels at firstname.lastname@example.org or (604) 485 4366.
Seedy Saturday and seed-saving initiatives
Seedy Saturday began in Vancouver in 1989 and has since spread all across Canada. It’s a seed exchange where you can bring your own seeds and trade them for seeds from other people. It helps preserve genetic diversity by saving and spreading open-pollinated seeds. Powell River’s Seedy Saturday is organized by the Powell River Farmers’ Institute and is held on the second Saturday of March every year since 2006. It’s always very successful and well-attended. For more information, check out the Powell River Seed Savers blog.
50-mile Eat-Local Challenge
The 50-mile eat-local challenge is Powell River’s own version of the world-famous 100-mile diet. It all started in 2006, got covered by the Tyee, and never looked back. About 250 people took part in 2006, about 500 in 2007, and about 700 in 2008. It’s a great way of raising awareness of the importance (and the challenges!) of eating locally and seasonally. For more information on how to get involved, contact David.
Edible Garden Tour
In 2009, the Powell River Food Security Project organized the first Edible Garden Tour in and around Powell River. In 2010 we did it again, and now in 2011 we are happy to be co-organizing this event with Transition Town Powell River. For more details, check out the Powell River 50-Mile Eat-Local Challenge website or contact David.
Open Air Market
From the fourth Saturday in April until the first Saturday in October, Powell River has an Open Air Market at the Paradise Valley Exhibition Grounds (on Myrtle Rd., just off Padgett Rd.). Market hours are Saturdays from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM and Sundays from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM. For more information, contact Market Coordinator Jesse at (604) 344-0021.