The Nanaimo Community Gardens Society (NCGS) recognizes that a sustainable food system is the foundation of a healthy community.
To work with people to grow more food in the region because growing food locally is vital to a healthy community and environment. Our programs and services get individuals and families active in growing, sharing, buying and eating local foods.
We envision our community abundant in food, and our culture and economy respectful of our dependence on the earth’s resources for survival.
- broad community access to locally-grown, nutritious foods
- community food self-reliance and the preservation of biodiversity in our food plants
- growing, celebrating and sharing food together
- the sharing of knowledge, skills and resources which help people develop food self-sufficiency
- creating inclusive gardens that provide opportunities for maintaining health and healing
- the preservation of agricultural lands and the livelihoods of all people involved in getting food from seeds to our plates
- the conservation of land, water, air, soils, and ecosystems
Needs and Issues Addressed:
Our Society is dedicated to creating a healthy community and environment. We are concerned that most food in our community is produced and distributed through practices that employ pesticides, excessive packaging and distant transport to get food to our plates – practices that pollute our soils, air, water and bodies. Monoculture and genetic engineering threaten biodiversity and our long-term survival by contributing to the mass extinction, and contamination, of our heritage food plants. Furthermore, corporate patents on seeds threaten our legal rights and ability to be self-reliant in food.
Another area of concern addressed by our programs is the disconnection of community members from the resources, processes and people involved in getting food from a seed to their plates, and their lack of awareness about the impact their food choices have on the health of our community and environment.
Our Programs, Services and Strategy:
We work in collaboration with individuals, agencies and government to get more food grown, shared, and purchased locally through various programs. We recognize sustainable food production as a vital part of creating a healthy community in which all people have access to nutritious food, clean water, pure air and bio-diverse green spaces.
Our primary strategy is to increase the knowledge and self-reliance of community members regarding their food needs through education and hands-on skill building. Since 1993 we have delivered an educational program based out of a demonstration food garden which teaches families and individuals the skills to grow, prepare and preserve local produce. In addition this educational program helps people to make informed food choices that support the long-term well-being of our community and environment, such as buying produce from our local farmers’ markets. The demonstration garden also serves as a training ground for future market gardeners.
Our programs and services facilitate access to land, skills and resources needed to assist people in growing and accessing local food. We operate communal garden sites in which all participants share in the growing and the harvest. Our successful Gleaning Program links surplus produce from people’s backyards and farmers’ fields with people who want this food. We co-host an Seedy Sunday Nanaimo in partnership with Nanaimo Foodshare. We grow and sell open-pollinated vegetable plants to home gardeners and donate many plants annually to groups and agencies in Nanaimo.
As well as running our hands-on programs, our long term strategy is to foster and support the development of neighbourhood community gardens throughout the region, develop our local food economy by facilitating access to local produce, and advocate for sustainable food policy.
We are recruiting more board members, staff, volunteers and members with a broad resource and skill base. We also foster a strong network of partners and allies.