Community garden a success

  • Oct. 12, 2007 7:00 a.m.

For the second harvest year in a row, the community garden in Skidegate has provided good fresh food for different groups and families. Lauren Brown, director of the Skidegate Health Centre where the raised beds and greenhouses are located, says she got the idea from taking part in a community garden when she lived in Vancouver. Not only did she grow her own food, but she made friendships in the garden. “When I moved home, I couldn’t believe the prices of vegetables,” she said. She says poverty is linked with poor health and that lack of access to healthy food plays a big role in that link. So, as the health director, she found funding to get the garden started. With the help of garden coordinator Vernal Bogren Swift, local expertise from Maude Island Farms and the hard work of the community, the beds have been overflowing with things like lettuce, broccoli, potatoes and onions. Groups like the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program, the Headstart and Skidegate Daycare and the Adult Day Program are reaping the benefits. “The community garden is a good start, now people want to have their own garden,” said Ms Brown. This harkens back to earlier times in Skidegate when many people had gardens in their backyards. The elders at SHIP told Ms Bogren-Swift how, long ago when the Indian Agent first came, he told all the people they must have gardens. Thanks to hard work and the use of kelp and starfish for nutrients in the soil, the gardens flourished. But then the store came and people became dependent on buying food instead. With the greenhouse, Ms Brown hopes the community garden’s abundance will continue throughout the year. “It’s a work in progress, says Ms Brown. Next year, they plan to plant Haida tobacco, thanks to seeds from Victoria-based ethnobotanist Nancy Turner and Haida potatoes as well.