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The 2023 Cowichan Grown Farm Map is Here!
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Program Directory

Community Urban Food Forest

Located just outside CGC’s offices at The Station, 360 Duncan St., the garden is full of beautiful edible and medicinal plants that were planted together to create an amazing, diverse, and intriguing demonstration of food forestry.

The plant selection for the garden was carefully considered in order to mimic the ecological processes of a forest. Plants chosen included pollinator attractors, nutrient accumulators, and soil stabilizers.

We invite you to take the time to walk around the paths, breathe in the fresh garden air and relax on a bench under our pergola. We also welcome volunteer help to maintain the food forest gardens, contact

The food forest gardens were created by CGC staff and over 200 hours of volunteer time. The project was funded by the Employment Program of BC and was completed in July 2014. Cowichan Green Community staff and volunteers have since been taking care of the site and harvesting the berries, herbs, and nutritious leafy greens it now produces!

Emergency Food Task Force

With the goal of increasing regional dialogue between food security stakeholders in the Cowichan Region and establishing a platform whereby regional policy and food projects can be incubated and developed, the Emergency Food Task Force now meets once per month to address these objectives. The Emergency Food Task Force‘s membership includes representatives from an array of professional backgrounds – from nutritionists, to business owners to community gardeners – and their diverse perspectives on local food matters creates for rich dialogue. Membership is free and is open to anyone interested in working towards a food secure Cowichan. The Emergency Food Task Force‘s current work includes the development of an annual report card. An assessment of the health of the Cowichan Region’s food system, the Report Card’s Goal is to highlight some of the challenges and successes of our food system so that points for regional dialogue and action can be identified. Members are also interested in addressing food waste and are exploring ideas and projects that the Coalition could host or partner on.


During the initial development of the Cowichan Food Security Plan (2007), the project’s Steering Committee recognized a need for a local coalition of individuals involved in food security work in the Cowichan Region. Through networking and information-sharing, this coalition increases communication around food security issues in the community and works to implement some of the Plan’s recommended actions including:
  1. Develop and promote the Cowichan Food Charter;
  2. Organize educational opportunities for the residents of the Cowichan Region to kick-start household-level food production and processing;
  3. Encourage gardening and other food production activities at the individual, household, and community levels;
  4. Establish a food security research program to identify ways of increasing food security;
  5. Advocate for policies that enhance food security and lobby against policies that undermine it; and
  6. Develop a plan to support local farmers.
The Emergency Food Task Force is hosted by the Cowichan Green Community (CGC) and its members have worked collaboratively on several food security projects including the Cowichan Food Charter. This widely successful statement of values and principles was adopted and signed by local, provincial, and federal political representatives, Malahat First Nation, and many individuals and businesses throughout the Region, and stands to guide decision-making and orient local policy towards food security. Currently the active members meet once per month to work on collaborative projects and actions. Our current project is our annual food security report card for the Cowichan Region. For more information on the Emergency Food Task Force’s current projects, to learn how to get involved, or for the meeting schedule please email to All are welcome to sit in on a meeting. Newcomers please hold your inquiries till the end of the meeting.

The Farm Hub

The Farm Hub is a three-acre organic community farm located beside Somenos Creek on the ancestral territory of the Quw’utsun Nation. It is home to a plant nursery that specializes in native & medicinal plants as well as fruit & vegetable seedlings.

The farm is a place to purchase plants that bring restoration to both the region and the body. We focus on education by welcoming volunteers, hosting workshops, and gardening alongside the community.

The Farm Hub is the site of the CGC’s Seed Farm, where IOPA-certified organic crops are grown specifically for seed production with a focus on educating farmers and community members on the importance of locally adapted open-sourced seeds. There is a beautiful variety of vegetable, grain, pulse, and flower seeds for sale, as well as seed packets for home gardeners and bulk quantities for farm scale.

Also on the site is the Ross Wristen Inclusion Garden, a communally tended market garden that is set up to make gardening more comfortable, inclusive, and accessible. In addition to our communal garden, we offer individual garden plots and raised, wheelchair-accessible planter boxes for independent gardening. CGC’s Inclusive Farming Program supports individuals with disabilities to develop gardening skills, with funding support from the Victoria Foundation.

At the Farm Hub, we also grow a selection of seeds, grown organically without the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides. These seeds are locally adapted varieties, which increases the productivity and yield of these heirloom varieties. Click here to see our seed catalog.

Come by to check out our plants and seeds for sale, take a tour of the farm and ask your gardening questions! The Nursery is open for sales Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
You can find us at 2431 Beverly St., Duncan. Purchase your plants and seeds onsite at The Farm Hub, through Cow-op, at the reFRESH Marketplace or via email at

The Food Hub

As a member of the BC Food Hub Network, the Cowichan Valley Full-Scale Food Processing and Innovation Hub (or as we’re calling it, the Food Hub) will offer a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) Ready commercial teaching kitchen, processing kitchen and aggregation space to local food producers and processors.

We are be able to offer local food and agricultural businesses access to shared processing infrastructure, processing and testing equipment, business advisory services, product development services, analytic services, applied research opportunities, and education and training abilities and facilities related to food processing and food safety. Businesses will have the ability to process a wide variety of food and beverage products, while working in a collaborative environment.

A food hub is a shared-use space between food and agricultural businesses that increases access to commercial processing spaces that includes equipment, expertise, and resources to help grow their businesses. It aids in improving the coordination and collaboration between agriculture and food stakeholders, and across the value chain.

Rentals And Membership Opportunities

The Food Hub is slated to open in 2022 and we want to provide interested businesses an opportunity to sign up now to join the interest list. Businesses on this list will be the first to receive information about rentals and membership opportunities once the Food Hub is operational. Sign up here!

Food Recovery Program

For many years, CGC has strived to create greater access to nutritional food throughout the Cowichan Region.
With almost one in four children living in poverty, our community has never needed better access to food as much as now. At the same time, we have an overwhelming global food waste problem. Canada alone wastes over 55% of the food it produces, equaling over 35 million tons annually, much of which ends up in landfills creating a large and unnecessary environmental issue.

In early 2018, the Food Recovery Project was established through a Government of British Columbia Job Creation Partnership, to both ‘recover’ food from large food retailers while also servicing the community by delivering this perfectly edible produce to vulnerable community members at no cost.

To date, this now essential community program has redistributed over 500,000lbs of fruit and vegetables to all corners of the Cowichan Region to those who need it most. With a transport vehicle and sufficient cooler and freezer space, the program delivers around 1000lbs of fresh food daily to over 15 local service providers and community organizations.

The Food Recovery Program lies under the umbrella of ‘reFRESH Cowichan’
which utilizes an onsite commercial kitchen and retail space to process and sell a small percentage of the recovered food from specific retailers. This, in turn, covers some of the necessary ongoing operational costs, while making sure all food is directed into a number of sustainable streams.

Latest News

Since March 2020, CGC established the Emergency Food Task Force with a number of other local community organizations, service providers, the school district, non-profits, and the City of Duncan. The Task Force’s goal is to ensure food is distributed to the most vulnerable communities of people affected by the current pandemic, addressing the food insecurity it has generated. A panel of representatives has been meeting weekly via Zoom to discuss food shortages and develop plans to alleviate them as they arise. Getting so many passionate people in a virtual room together has enabled a solution-driven approach to getting food, meals, and support together very quickly.

Program Staff:

  • Nathan Harben – Program Supervisor
  • Julika Pape – reFRESH Operation Manager
  • Mike Elford – Driver & Delivery Coordinator
  • Angela –  Food Service Senior Manager

If you would like any more information on the project or would like to donate time or money to this project, please contact Program Supervisor Nathan Harben at or 250 748 8506

Fruit Save

Organizing volunteers to harvest urban fruit trees and share the fruit with the community.

FruitSave is a local gleaning program that organizes volunteers to harvest backyard fruit that would otherwise go to waste. This naturally grown fruit is shared between the homeowner, the pickers, the Valley’s many emergency food providers, and CGC’s programs.

Why is this project important?

95% of the food we eat on Vancouver Island is brought in by ferry, often after traveling thousands of kilometers, and yet we have one of the finest climates for growing food in Canada. Backyard fruit trees in the Valley offer tonnes of nutritious food every year, but much of it falls to the ground uneaten. Now there is a way to get this fruit to those who need it most, and to learn how easy it can be to feed ourselves with beautiful, wholesome, Cowichan-grown food!

Who benefits?

  • Homeowners get their fruit trees picked and windfall apples gathered for free and are left with 1/3 of the harvest. Not only will their yards be cleaner, but they can also feel satisfied that the fruit from their trees will help many people throughout the community.
  • Harvesters can enjoy some sunshine and gentle exercise with a friend while picking and then take home 1/3 of the fruit if they wish.
  • The Community benefits from the donation of fresh, local food. FruitSave supports many organizations, such as:

    How I can help ?

    Becoming a Team Lead.

    CGC would like to create as many opportunities to harvest fruit as possible. In order to do so we need people to lead teams of pickers. Please let us know if you can help! CGC will connect Team Leads with trees in their area, and help to coordinate each pick. Here’s what is involved:
    • Assess the safety of a tree(s) for picking
    • Liaise with the tree owner
    • Receive emails from interested pickers, respond to questions, and let them know where the tree is and specifics about the site
    • Pick up ladders from CGC or arrange for another picker to do so
    • Promote safety during the pick and while loading fruit into vehicles
    • Take some fruit to the region’s emergency food providers or arrange for another picker to do so.
    If you’d like to get involved or have questions about this great project, please contact the FruitSave Team, at, or click the buttons below, and fill out these forms to either have your fruit picked or help us pick fruit!

KinPark Kids Camp

KinPark Kids Camp is a great opportunity for children ages 6 – 10 to learn plenty about gardening, nature, and food while making lasting memories and friendships at the KinPark Youth Urban Farm in downtown Duncan. Each day focuses on a different theme that is reflected in the day’s activities, discussions, and games.

Our goal is to teach children how to grow, harvest, and cook healthy food in a fun, hands-on, and engaging way, and provide them with opportunities to expand their physical, social and practical skills in order to live sustainably. Campers also learn team building and leadership skills through activities and games at KinPark. Many of our activities and games promote group problem solving, and leadership-taking for those who are older and wish to take on more responsibility at camp.

Aside from gardening, planting seeds, harvesting crops, and cooking, other activities include yoga, sports, crafts, skill-building games, reading and telling stories. Campers also get to engage in community-led workshops and activities put on by special guest facilitators!

A few of our activities:

  • Gardening
    As KinPark Kids Camp is located at KinPark Urban Farm, campers have full access to farm crops and a greenhouse. They learn about seeding, growing, and harvesting veggies, berries, and herbs, as well as other farm skills such as composting, mulching, building structures, basic tool use and more.
  • Local Food and Cooking
    Every Wednesday, campers take a cooking class at Cowichan Green Community’s commercial kitchen. Before cooking class they harvest ingredients from the farm at KinPark to use in their recipe. This facilitates a direct connection between where their food comes from and the food on their plate. They of course learn a variety of cooking skills during classes, such as safety, prepping and chopping ingredients, cooking, baking, and preserving. And the best part is, they get to eat their creations!
  • Bugs and Bees
    Campers also learn about the important roles insects have in our ecosystem, and what they mean to our food systems. They take part in identifying pollinator plants, learning the names of different insects in the garden, and of course discussing what different bugs do. We love bees and always try to include bee-related activities. Local experts come to the park to pass their knowledge down to the campers and provide engaging educational activities.
  • Recycling
    Campers learn about recycling and upcycling through activities, games, and crafts. They learn what can be recycled or composted and what cannot, and how our waste systems work. We are always planning new upcycling crafts and mending/repair activities to show how materials can be reused and repurposed instead of going to the garbage.
  • Community Day
    Campers can feed their curiosity about the diversity of people that live together in our beautiful Cowichan Valley, participate in games and crafts that explore cultures, and practice community engagement by donating to the food bank, neighborhood excursions, and visits from guest facilitators.
  • Water
    Water is life! Our urban farm is a great place to explore the importance of water, the way it cycles through earth and sky, and how to conserve it. Campers get to play with and make new water toys, explore rainwater harvesting, learn cool ways to keep plants hydrated in the summer heat and create their own rain gauges.
  • Fix-it!
    From carpentry to mending clothes, the goal is to practice our hands-on skills. Campers are given safe, supervised opportunities to use hand tools, experiment with resourceful solutions to engineering challenges (like building a fort using a limited set of materials), and learn how to fix everyday objects instead of throwing them in the landfill!


  • Ages: Children 6-10
  • Rates:
    • $200 per week
    • $180 per week that lands on a statutory holiday (Canada Day and August long weekend)
    • $50 per day
  • When: July 3rd – September 1st (9 weeks total) Monday – Friday, 9AM-4:30PM.
  • Where: KinPark Youth Urban Farm (5789 Alderlea Street, Duncan) & Cowichan Green Community (360 Duncan Street, Duncan)
  • Registration Forms: Click here to download!
  • Supervisor: Alyssa Krawchuk

Forms can be emailed to, or dropped off in our store on 360 Duncan Street. Invoices will be sent for payment 2 – 3 business days upon receipt of registration.

KinPark Youth Urban Farm

From humble beginnings in 2013, the KinPark Youth Urban Farm has blossomed into an urban agriculture demonstration site and working farm managed using permaculture based principles. The farm is located in the heart of Duncan at 5789 Alderlea St.

Open to all members of the public, we utilize this space to increase local food access, train young people in sustainable agriculture, and create youth-led opportunities that serve the environment and the surrounding community. As we work to transform the park into an edible oasis, we also strive to create connections with community partners. We collaborate on workshops, events, and programs that bring value, skills, and connection to Cowichan families and youth.

Are you interested in getting involved? KinPark is open for tours, volunteer opportunities, internships, and can host a variety of workshops to suit your needs. For more information, contact Naomi.

For weekly updates, follow KinPark Youth Urban Farm on Facebook, and @kpyouth on Instagram!

Fresh from the Farm

We are currently selling beautiful KinPark produce and preserves in the reFRESH Cowichan Marketplace (360 Duncan St., Duncan). Garlic, greens, squashes, dried herbs, pickled beets, and more! Come on in to pick up some fresh local goodies. You can also order our products on

KinPark Food Pantry

In the spring of 2022, the pantry was born out of the desire to serve the community in its need for easily accessible food. With a “take what you need, leave what you can” model, the pantry brings community members together to support each other in taking what they need without judgment, only respect! Donations to the food pantry are always welcome and can be dropped off in the pantry anytime (southeast corner entrance to the park at Ypres St). Welcomed donations include unopened and non-expired food items and hygiene products. To make a monetary donation, please visit our donations page.

KinPark Kids Camp

Since 2013, KinPark is also home for our summer camp program KinPark Kids Camp. KinPark Kids Camp is a summer day camp for children ages 6 to 10 to learn about gardening/farming, cooking, bugs and bees, local ecosystems, and sustainability. For more information, please visit our KinPark Kids Camp page, or contact

Kinsmen Park Community Gardens

Community Gardens

Cowichan Green Community recognizes the importance of backyard and publicly accessible food production for urban food security, and for environmental sustainability by extension. The establishment of community gardens in our region has always been a priority. 

Beginning in 2004 with the Jubilee Community Garden at Centennial Park, which is now overseen by the Jubilee Garden Group, CGC has since initiated a number of other community gardens within our region including the Warmland House Community Garden, the Caulfield Place raised bed gardens for residents and the ever-evolving Alexander School Community Gardens in the Alexander neighborhood.

Kin Park Community Gardens

In 2007, CGC began transforming an underused downtown park into a bustling epicenter of food production by building a community garden at Kinsmen Park, located next to Cowichan Secondary School. Funding and community support were acquired and 18 raised beds were erected. Since then, the various plots have been continuously used by community members.

The Mandala Gardens

In 2009, the existing garden was expanded to include additional beds in a ‘mandala’ style garden, as well as a tool shed and compost bin. In 2011, a native plant demonstration garden was created, more fruit trees were planted, a memorial bench was erected and more perennials were incorporated into the landscape.

In the Spring of 2017, we acquired funding from Island Health to renew the ‘mandala’ garden, which had deteriorated over time, was very overgrown, and was no longer being rented. The old mandala was excavated to make way for a new set of wheelchair accessible raised beds. We engaged the members of our Youth Outreach team (YO team) to design and install trellises and many community volunteers assisted with the building of the beds, shoveling soil and spreading woodchips. The new Mandala also includes four plots sponsored and maintained by the Cowichan Valley Basket Society – our local food bank.

Community gardens provide:

  • Increased self-sufficiency
  • A positive and peaceful place to gather
  • An opportunity to meet other members of the community and make friends
  • Garden space for people who don’t have access
  • A great place to exchange information and to learn from more seasoned green thumbs: e.g how to grow food, identify weeds, explore alternate ways of growing and space-saving techniques
  • An affordable and healthy food source

Plots are rented every season by contacting our office. Renewals or new rentals typically take place from January to May. For more information on the gardens or to rent a plot, please contact us at 250-748-8506.

The Resiliency Project

The Resiliency Project is a community-based rewilding effort. Our vision is to plant native meadows throughout our community, in shared green spaces, parks, boulevards, and front yards. Native pollinators are essential to support the health of the ecosystem, and vibrant local food systems. Native plants are so vital in supporting pollinators, and all of the other insects that create the foundation of the whole food web, feeding birds, and so many other creatures that we share these lands with.

One of the things we are focused on is creating a native plant seed bank, which is located at the Garden Education Centre, at 2431 Beverly Street. This seed bank is accessible to any community member who is working to re-wild an area of their yard, and we are continuing to expand this aspect of the project, and support school groups, community organizations, and individual residents. We also engage with the community through ongoing workshops and community work-bees, where folks have the opportunity to get hands-on experience with meadow-making. We are actively working with community partners in this meadow-making work, including the Cowichan Valley Naturalists, Somenos Marsh Society, Cowichan Nature Estuary Centre, and the City of Duncan. We are so grateful for the amazing group of committed volunteers who support this project.

To sign up for the Resiliency Project mailing list, or to learn more about the project and get involved, please email

Island Farm & Garden Online Magazine

Island Farm & Garden Magazine is a social enterprise of Cowichan Green Community. We cover Vancouver Island from the Saanich Peninsula to Campbell River. Our magazine promotes resourceful living, with articles on gardening, sustainable food, hobby farming and small commercial farms, horse and livestock articles and information on farms for sale in Victoria, Cowichan, Comox, Nanaimo, Alberni and Salt Spring. Watch for our publication 5 times yearly. We distribute 8,000 copies to Southern Vancouver Island businesses and libraries. Please, consider advertising with Island Farm & Garden. Not only do you reach your target audience, but you also support some great agricultural initiatives on a local scale! Contact Eric Morten at for details.

The Employment Program of British Columbia is funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia