By Crystal Mai, Community Education Facilitator
Hello everyone! My name is Crystal, and I’m entering my fourth year and studying Food, Nutrition, and Health at the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC. I am very happy to volunteer at Fresh Roots this summer an LFS 496 student, a faculty-led practicum course.
My favourite vegetable is zucchini. I love to stir-fry it with some black peppers and salts. In the meantime, I love watching K-dramas and snowboarding! Going for a walk during the golden sunset hours near the Wrench Beach at UBC is another enjoyable activity for me. Going forward, I am very excited to be involved in the planting at the Norquay sharing garden, the organization of the Before Sunset Annual Fundraiser event, and other entertaining park activities. Meanwhile, I will be assisting the Experiential Learning Teams with field trips and day camps. It will be a fulfilling and meaningful journey because I will be exposed to many great opportunities to connect with different people, neighbours, foods, and lands. I am hoping to improve the community’s food security level, bringing us one step closer to ending world hunger.
Photo Credited to Elaine Casap on Unsplash
You may wonder what a sharing garden is?
Norquay sharing garden is one of the community sharing gardens in Vancouver, where we offer fresh produce to everyone who needs it. Members of the neighbourhood volunteer their time to care for one growing area. Food grown in the garden is shared with members and/or individuals outside the community. Additional produce may be donated to local food banks and other organizations assisting household food security.
Feel free to check out other sharing gardens in town also working towards community food security if Norquay is not near your neighbourhood.
The benefits of a sharing garden are more than just harvesting foods.
From a psychological perspective, sharing gardens creates a win-win situation for all participants. Growers passionate about cultivating the land can be confident that their efforts have made a difference since their food feeds people in their local communities and beyond. Sharing gardens may also foster great sentiments of belonging and respect among all community members, as they provide satisfaction and fulfillment through teamwork and sustained effort.
From a food security perspective, sharing gardens utilize urban farming strategies to increase food security by promoting locally grown food and social and ecological connections. Urban farming has many benefits, including boosting biodiversity, using under-utilized spaces, and feeding needy households. It stimulates the local food economy by producing green employment, growing skills, and shortening food supply chains, which reduces hunger in the long term (Valley et al., 2019).
Let’s take a closer look at what our sharing garden looks like!
Spring and summer are the best time for seeding! In May, the Experiential Learning and Youth Empowerment team at Fresh Roots came together to weed, prune, and plant veggies for community members. Check out pictures of them in action!
Everyone can benefit from the sharing garden as we grow our own foods, share with and donate to people who need it. Volunteer gardeners can acquire practical growing skills, while community members can be fed.
Let’s make some perfect bedding for plants to germinate in order to feed more people in the community when harvest time comes!
It was a new experience for me to plant things at the sharing garden! I planted cauliflowers and pepper leaves and I’m very excited to see them grow and harvest!
You are welcome to visit our sharing garden (Norquay Park – 5050 Wales Street) over the summer and take any fresh veggies and fruits available as you need! Stay tuned for more of our seasonal harvests:
I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the Norquay sharing garden, where I have learned practical gardening skills while assisting the neighbourhood in improving food security, bringing us even closer to stopping the world’s hunger.
Valley, W., & Wittman, H. (2019). Beyond feeding the city: The multifunctionality of urban farming in vancouver, BC. City, Culture and Society, 16, 36-44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ccs.2018.03.004