District supports garden society

The District is supporting increased food production for the North Island

The District of Port Hardy council has thrown their support behind efforts to increase food production.

At their regular meeting June 23, council received a request from Dawn Moorehead, executive director of the Grassroots Garden Society for a letter supporting the group’s application for a $25,000 grant through the New Horizons program.

The Grassroots Garden Society is a seniors-led, local non-profit organization working towards a sustainable North Island food system.

If successful, the funds will be used to increase food production capacity in backyards and community gardens, mentor new gardeners and potential small farmers and demonstrate agro-forestry as a sustainable North Island livelihood.

“The emphasis is on perennial plants that thrive in this climate and have economic potential,” wrote Moorehead in the letter.

These would include currents, gooseberries, hazelnuts, brambles, the blueberry family, Saskatoons, and sour cherry.

The Grassroots Society Learning Centre is located on a 1.1 hectare parcel of land on Park Drive leased to them by the District of Port Hardy. The site has been certified organic by Island Organic Producers Association since July 1, 2011.

“She’s got an invitation for councillors to go check out the garden,” said Councillor Jessie Hemphill.

“There’s no way to appreciate what’s happening there without going to see it,” Hemphill said.

Council agreed to write the letter of support.

According to the Minister of Agriculture, in 2013, blueberries accounted for 50 per cent of BC’s total berry production and exports of more than $154 million. Building markets for BC products is part of the government’s efforts  to encourage young farmers to enter the profession, support food security in our province, and grow B.C.’s agrifood revenues to $14 billion a year by 2017.