by Marcus Lobb
Happy New Year from Vancouver Island, where the tulips are officially emerging from the earth! This past fall has been a time of evaluation, reflection, and also addition!
The Nanaimo North Hub will be adding two new schools to the mix: Firstly, Gabriola Elementary School, who received Farm to School BC funding in the most recent funding cycle. We are excited to see what the school will do with the funding this year. Wickaninnish Community School also received full funding to launch their Farm to School project, and I am looking forward to traveling to both of these schools this spring to learn about their programs.
Late fall we were fortunate to be invited to the First Nations Health Authority Indigenous Food Sovereignty Gathering at Snuneymuxw. Multiple communities presented on the food sovereignty projects taking place in their towns, and villages. The First Nations Food Systems Project gave an especially exciting presentation, showcasing dozens of incredible projects from across the province, including farm training programs, and language and land revitalization initiatives. We left this meeting with our hearts blossoming and our energy abound!
One of the most exciting and robust programs that we have funded in the past couple years is the Soil Lit Kit program created by Nanaimo Foodshare. The program offers teachers training and lesson plans that accompany an actual bin of tools and resources that are aimed to engage students with topics such as soil science, compost, and microorganisms. The program is in nearly half a dozen schools in Nanaimo, and we spent the afternoon with project lead Chrys, who reviewed the possibilities of the program with the teachers, who offered feedback about their own experience using the tool kits.
Our advisory group is really starting to come together in the community, as we have already begun hosting additional phone meetings in-between our regular in-person meetings. I am also excited to present the Farm to School model to SD68 this March. We are hoping that the new trustees will help better support schools looking to engage with school garden development, and innovative school food projects, such as food forests, salad bar programs, and permaculture!