Plants could be growing in Nelson’s Lakeside Park greenhouses as soon as September thanks to a new project spearheaded by a group of local seniors.
The initiative called SEEDS — Seniors Economic Environment Development Project — is hoping to help Nelson’s economy with self-sufficient food production by growing vegetables in the greenhouses.
“The idea came from the earth,” said Lee Reid after her presentation at a committee of the whole meeting last month. “I think it’s been gathering energy over time. Parks employees are interested. Seniors love gardening. City council has a history of being interested in this sort of thing, and this is the time for sustainable food production that supports the economy and nutrition of low-income people, which includes seniors, families and other individuals.”
As a gardener herself, Reid recognized the “vitality and active intelligence” of retired seniors in the community.
“I thought how could we harness this to promote growth in the community and it occurred to me that we needed a project and most of us had been involved in caretaking projects throughout our lives. This seemed like something that would bring everyone together, almost like a harmonizer,” she said.
Reid and the SEEDS members want to make the project more than just a seniors based initiative. In addition to donating fresh produce to the Nelson Food Cupboard, SEEDS hopes to incorporate local youth and other organizations.
“We are hoping to mentor and share skills with youth from the Youth Centre under the Work Skills and Work Link program,” said Reid. “We are partnering with Earth Matters who want to grow at least herbs in the greenhouse and are on our advisory committee. The college is interested in terms of their permaculture program.”
The group has also contacted the EcoSociety about the possibility of leasing and renting plots in the greenhouse and selling the produce through markets.
“We are interested in having an outlet to distribute the food and we are going to approach council about using the concession stand, which is only used three months of the year in the summer,” said Reid.
SEEDs will be working on a feasibility study and business plan with the goal of beginning planting in the Fall.
For more information or to get involved contact Reid at 250-352-3870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org