Food First Chemainus is in the growing stages, but looking to build solid roots in the community.
“We are a group of like-minded individuals who wish to start a community garden in Chemainus as well as a herb garden for locals,” explained Nuria Sanchez, who credits Chelsey Taylor as the inspiration and also joined forces with Jenn Peachey in getting it going.
“Chelsey had a post asking about community gardens,” explained Peachey. “I saw it and someone was asking about community gardens and it was something we needed to get together on.”
A core group of 10 attended the first public meeting a few months ago. There are now regular meetings on the last Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
With messages limited mainly to Facebook and word of mouth, the group thought branching out through the newspaper to reach people who aren’t connected to social media would be a good idea.
“We’ve got young business people, retirees, we have master gardeners, a church minister,” explained Peachey of the diverse background of those who’ve become involved.
“We’ve kind of given ourselves a time line,” she added. “In December, we want to nail down land for our public herb garden. Once we get that going, work on our yard share program.”
“We’re trying to gather people who have land for those who don’t have land and go in and do gardening on their property,” said Sanchez.
The public organic herb garden will be complemented by a yard share or community garden and share the fruit programs in the group’s master plan.
“A lot of what we’re really interested in, we want to do things for the community,” pointed out Sanchez.
That means where there’s excess food from their undertakings it can also go to the Harvest House Food Bank or Cowichan Neighbourhood House in Chemainus.
“If we can yard share where excess food gets donated to these organizations, the more, the merrier,” stressed Sanchez.
An educational component with the herb garden is also being considered.
“People can come and see the box being made,” explained Peachey. “Every process we do, we would use that as educational moments.”
The name chosen for the group stemmed from the obvious.
“It sounded right,” said Peachey. “It should be food first before lawn so the fruit isn’t rotting. Let’s eat it first and we’re trying to take care of community first. We are just a grass roots group with ideas and energy.
“We’ve reached out to a lot of those organizations who are doing these things, just not in Chemainus so it’s about time.”
There’s a place where interested persons can register at www.foodfirstchemainus.wordpress.com.
Information is also available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We really want to get the word out so we can bring everyone together,” Peachey pointed out.
“We do want it to be community-oriented,” stressed Sanchez.
Meetings are usually held at the Chemainus Library, but there’s a limit of 10 people. The next one is between Christmas and New Year’s on Dec. 29 anyway so it will be conducted on Zoom for those who have registered or intend to register.
“The need is out there,” summed up Peachey.