Keeping Food Real aims to support the citizens and communities of the Elk Valley in growing their own food by providing online cold climate educational resources and hands-on practical workshops that support both novice and intermediate gardeners.
Wildsight gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Agriculture.
Dig Into Gardening – DIG101
Want to grow food? This 3-hour workshop for beginners is a great place to start. Learn about soil and seed basics, starting seeds indoors, preparing a garden site, selecting crops and co-existing with wildlife. Explore how to access growing space even if you live in an apartment. Take away the knowledge to get started and a useful workbook for planning and planting your first garden. Bring a lunch and have your questions answered during a lunchtime Q&A. Participants will leave with a planted tray of seeds and a reference resource workbook.
Jump Start Your Garden
A hands-on opportunity to build upon your gardening knowledge, this workshop will demonstrate organic-inspired techniques for soil preparation, garden planning (spacing, mapping, crop rotation), as well mulching at a small-scale, commercial, permaculture-inspired farm. Learn about the benefits of cold weather gardening. Wear weather-appropriate clothing/footwear and bring a lunch.Participants will leave with vegetable seedlings and a reference resource workbook.
Maximize Yields, Optimize Efforts
The best strategies, tips and techniques to help get the most out of your garden while optimizing your time and efforts in our cold-climate, short-season conditions. Learn about season-extension techniques (floating row covers, hoop houses), cut-and-come-again crops, variety selection, succession planting, harvesting, efficient watering, and easier weeding. Experience the strategies commercial, permaculture-inspired farmers use, then apply them in your own garden. Wear weather-appropriate clothing/footwear and bring a lunch. Participants will leave with just-picked garden produce and a reference resource workbook.
Click here to learn more and register for Maximize Yield, Optimize Effort workshop
Saving Your Own Seeds – Growing Better Crops
In this 3-hour workshop you will learn how to select, harvest and store seeds from locally grown plants, and why it is so beneficial to do so. Participate in collecting, cleaning and packaging seeds and have all your seed saving questions answered. Wear weather-appropriate clothing/footwear, and bring a lunch. Participants will leave with a variety of locally-grown seeds and a reference resource workbook.
Making Good Compost: Methods and Uses
Dial in your compost-making skills at this hands-on workshop. The ultimate soil-builder, good compost not only provides nutrients and organic matter, but also a healthy community of soil-microbiology to help your plants thrive. Learn to source appropriate materials, mix them at the proper proportions, and monitor the pile as it matures into black gold. This workshop is part classroom theory and part outdoors at the EcoGarden, so bring weather-appropriate clothing, wear rubber boots and bring a lunch. Participants will leave with vermicompost and a reference resource workbook.
Keeping Food Real: Elk Valley gets ready to Grow Local
Elk Valley residents will be growing more local food in 2017 as the Wildsight Elk Valley branch begin their “Keeping Food Real” project.
This project is a result of their successful application to the B.C. government’s Grow Local Program for $25,000.
The two-year “Keeping Food Real” initiative aims to support the citizens and communities of the Elk Valley in growing their own food by providing online cold climate educational resources and hands-on practical workshops that support both novice and intermediate gardeners.
The Wildsight Elk Valley Branch will be working with the College of the Rockies, Spruce Spring Stream Farms, District of Sparwood, Elkford Community Garden and the City of Fernie in the project and to increase food production in the Elk Valley.
The $250,000 Grow Local program is funding projects in 10 B.C. communities. The projects are designed to:
involve residents in growing local fruit and vegetables;
increase awareness and appreciation for supporting local food production; and
strengthen local food supply security.
The 10 projects include the developing resources on how to grow local food, group education and awareness activities, such as workshops, mini-courses, and “how-to” demonstrations, and one-on-one consultation and advice. The application process was administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.
The BC Agrifoods and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan identifies the next steps in the B.C. government’s goal to grow the B.C. agrifoods industry to a $15-billion-dollar-a-year sector by 2020. Grow Local BC will assist in maintaining food supply security, a challenge identified in the strategic growth plan.
Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture – “The Grow Local program will further strengthen the value of the local agricultural sector among British Columbians. This pilot project will create a better understanding of how food crops are produced in our province and assist people in learning how best to grow their own food.”
Sharon Switzer, Wildsight Elk Valley Branch president – “We are working to cultivate a thriving, knowledgeable and resilient local food culture in the Elk Valley. Our board members – Mary Cosman and Tanya Malcolm along with EcoGarden committee members – Gaetane Carignan and Dawn Deydey – have developed an engaging project for our community that will help us move closer towards this vision.”
News release announcing Grow Local: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016AGRI0058-001860
Program background: http://iafbc.ca/funding-opportunities/grow-local/