Our Community Garden makes a Splash at justgeneration.

As many of you are probably aware, justgeneration.ca held a food-themed photo contest on Instagram earlier this summer and it turned out to be a great success! We were happy to have had the opportunity to engage with the public on the crucial topic of food security and update them on the efforts of our international partners, who are working tirelessly on this issue. We also learned a lot from the food stories that our contest participants shared with us through their photo submissions. One of our favourite stories to come out of the contest came from The Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Kelowna, British Columbia.

When we put out a call for “farm fresh” photos in Week Four of our contest, St. Michael’s Kelowna responded with a photo of their new community garden, showcasing a key way that this parish is contributing to their neighbourhood’s food security. The community garden produces luscious, organic fruits and vegetables to keep the St. Michael’s Cathedral Cupboard stocked up with nutritious food. For years, the Cathedral Cupboard has been a reliable source of sustenance for the community, providing food items free of charge to the general public on a short-term or emergency basis. Every Friday from 10 to 11 AM, the Cupboard opens its doors to visitors, who have the opportunity to choose up to ten items from a wide selection of canned goods, dry goods, fresh produce, and personal hygiene items. The increased supply of food provided by the community garden is a huge boost to the Cupboard, as the popular service is used about 1,600 times a year and serves 200-250 people.

The community garden is a brand new initiative founded in 2015 when a unique opportunity presented itself. The parish was scheduled for a parking lot renovation when they realized that the space could be reapportioned to include a sizable strip of suburban agriculture. Thanks to the loving care of a dedicated team of volunteers, the garden has yielded an abundant harvest of tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers and beans. “Our volunteers are greatly appreciated,” says The Very Rev. Nissa Basbaum, Dean of St. Michael’s. “It is through their efforts that we are able to help others and improve the lives of those around us and that’s what makes our garden grow!”

The garden has certainly been a blessing to the visitors to the Cathedral Cupboard, but beyond that, it has also been great for community-building and public engagement. By involving the community at large in the cultivation of the garden, St. Michael’s Kelowna develops positive, collaborative relationships with their neighbours. It is also a great learning opportunity for the community to learn about the varieties and sources of food, our responsibilities as stewards of our natural resources and as members of our respective communities, and the importance of food security in a local context. This learning is making an impact especially on children and youth in the neighbourhood. Through this garden, St. Michael’s Kelowna demonstrates to us one of the many different ways the Church can embrace food security as a cause and care for its community. This perfectly encapsulates what we aimed to achieve when we launched our Instagram contest!

September 1st, 2015 • By Flora Yu, justgeneration.ca Intern Posted by Sheilagh.