Edible garden project at OC’s Penticton campus to feed students, community members
A partnership between Okanagan College's Penticton campus and the Medical Arts Research Group is helping to root out food insecurity amongst students and local families.
An edible garden program is being established on the north end of the Penticton campus, with the aim to provide fresh vegetables to OC students and food bank patrons in the community.
Medical Arts Research Group donated the wood and fence material for the project. Raised garden beds were built in May by students in the Women in Trades Training program, and installed outside Penticton’s newest building, the Welding Shop. The beds were planed alongside Indigenous landscaping specifically to support bees and butterfly colonies.
As part of its “Dirt Therapy” projects, the Medical Arts Research Group collaborates with community partners to build garden boxes throughout Penticton. The aim is to build two garden boxes with each project partner: one to grow local fresh produce that can be used by families or organizations, with extra produce supplied to the food bank.
“In the spring a shortfall of 90,000 pounds of food was predicted and this shortage has been exacerbated by COVID-19. On a global scale, COVID-19 has increased food insecurity in a major way,” said Donna Benson, the CoVic Garden Box Project Lead in Penticton.
Garden Works donated seedlings for the vegetable plants, as the edible garden establishes itself as a teaching space throughout the summer. The Continuing Studies department is currently offering a Horticulture and Landscape program for adults with special needs, who are maintaining and harvesting the garden in June and July.
Food distribution is anticipated to begin July and is expected to continue into fall. Students will be able to pick up produce in Penticton on a first come-first served basis. Additional donations will be made to the food bank in Penticton to benefit the wider community.
“With the applied learning component of the edible garden project, students are gaining hands-on skills while making a difference in the lives of their peers and families,” said Meri Kim Oliver, Vice President Students. “The College is grateful for donations from Medical Health Research Group and Garden Works, which has allowed the Penticton campus to give back to the community.”
Tags: Penticton, Partnership, Women in Trades Training, Continuing Studies, Inside OC
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