This Sunday, July 21, marks the 10th year for the Powell River Edible Garden Tour, organized by PREP Society’s Powell River Food Security Project. The self-guided event features nine local properties beginning at 9 am north of town at Tla’amin Community Garden, then meandering south to finish up at Paradise Valley Produce.
“This year we have three community gardens, three farms and three regular home gardens on the tour,” said PREP Society manager of food programs and event coordinator Adriana Virtue.
The purpose of the day is to raise awareness and spur conversation around issues of food security and food sovereignty in Powell River, she added.
Food sovereignty, a term coined in the mid-1990s, often refers to people’s right to healthy, culturally appropriate food sources produced in ecologically sound and sustainable ways. Food security is more simply defined as the availability of food and people’s access to it. In Powell River, these are big issues, said Virtue.
“We’re a secluded place, almost like an island, so we need to be aware of the fact that we can grow food here,” she said. “It’s a day of conversation with food and growing food specifically in mind.”
According to food security project summer student Abby Head, the event focuses on optimism.
“The edible garden tour really shines a light on the solutions to food security rather than the problem,” she said.
Stop number five on the tour and open all day is PREP Society’s Community Resource Centre. A solar cooking display will be taking place at the centre from 12 to 3 pm. Four days per week, the centre is one of the places in town providing food to people who need it, some of which is supplied by the centre’s kitchen garden. The number of people utilizing the centre on a daily basis would surprise many in the community, said Virtue.
“We’re feeding so many people here and most in the community aren’t fully aware,” she added, noting that despite several food resources being available in the community on varying days, there are some days that still lack any services.
“We’re still missing two days of the week when people who are eating at these resources every day are probably not eating,” said Virtue.
The issue is not just affecting one group of people. Virtue noted that the CRC is seeing more youth eating at the centre during the summer months as young people who might be fed at school breakfast and lunch programs during the school year do not have that option when school is out.
“We have a lot of food security and we have a lot of food insecurity [in Powell River], she added.
Along with Tla’amin Community Garden, Sycamore Commons in Townsite is a community permaculture project and Garden Share on Westview Avenue offers individuals the space to grow and harvest food to feed themselves. Working farms include certified organic Terra Nostra Farm, hydroponic microgreens producer Straight Up Greens and certified organic Paradise Valley Produce. Originally a goat dairy founded in the 1900s, it is now run by a couple trained in the Sustainable Agriculture program at the University of British Columbia.
Each location on the tour offers something unique and worth celebrating, according to Virtue.
“Every single place on the tour this year is exciting,” she said.
For more information, search for Powell River Edible Garden Tour on Facebook.