Before Your Plate

The Before Your Plate program is getting ready to run its Second Term from January 10th to April 13th, 2017. Interviews are still taking place until January 10th. Applicants interested in applying can contact Alyssa Loucks at or 250-748-8506.

Before Your Plate is another Cowichan Green Community SkillsLink program similar to Let’s Chop It Up!, that is designed to empower and educate young adults with the necessary tools needed to find employment within the Cowichan Region’s food and farming community.

With the focusBasketBounty - Copy on local agriculture and food, Before Your Plate sets the table for a vibrant opportunity for participants to experience and learn a variety of skills: Hands-on cooking classes and food workshops, budgeting and buying ingredients from local providers, tours and talks from local food and horticulture experts, classroom discussion, self-exploration, teamwork exercises, and of course, the necessary employment skills involved in the job world. After four weeks of rich learning and skill building, participants will then have nine weeks of hands-on work experience with a placement in the local food and/or farming community. Upon completion of the program, participants are bolstered with applicable work experience, improved resume and cover letter skills, and a stronger connection to the Cowichan Region.

The Before Your Plate SkillsLink program runs from September 2016 to April 2017 that provides two 14-week terms helping a total of 10 young adults solidify their employment skills. The program is paid at $10.85 per hour*, 30 hours per week, for 14 weeks.

If you are interested in contributing as an educator to this program and have relevant skills to share, we would love to hear from you! Some examples of volunteer contributions include: Wild edibles forest walks, teaching kitchen and knife skills, preserving workshops, seed-saving, farming techniques, resume and cover letter workshops, horticulture therapy, and more.

All inquiries — Please contact Alyssa at or tel:250-748-8506


Meet the SkillsLink “Before Your Plate” Graduates



Karina Louie was born in Duncan, B.C. She has always lived here in the Cowichan Valley. She is a member of the Cowichan Tribes with 3 children. She likes swimming, walking, listening to music, and cooking. She got in the program because she wants to learn new skills within the cooking industry. After SkillsLink she is hoping to become a chef or get a cooking job. She hopes to add new skills to her resume through this program.

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Shawnee George was born and raised in Duncan and she absolutely loves doing community service and learning about the world around her. She hopes to be able to speak in public and find a job, so she can go back to school to pursue her passion for helping people.



Tammy Pierre is from Chemainus, BC. She has lived in the Cowichan Valley for the past few years. She loves to work in the food industry and wants to learn more about commercial cooking techniques and agriculture. She is excited about SkillsLink. She is hoping that this program will build up her confidence, teach her more culinary skills and help her to improve her resume. Tammy’s future goals are to become a chef and/or open her own restaurant.



Mgonea Luhui is originally from Tanzania in East Africa. He has a beautiful 2 year old! Swahili is his native language. By joining the CGC family he is hoping to learn more skills and contribute to the Cowichan community.



Cheryl-Anne grew up in Duncan, BC and has a dog name Sha Sha. Her skills involve kitchen duties which are also her passion. She loves helping her family. She is looking forward to learning a lot from this program such as knowledge of planting food.



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Upcoming Events

    • Organic Master Gardener Course

      Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - Thursday, May 18, 2017
      Organic Master Gardener in Duncan! CGC will host this dynamic 8-week course from Gaia College March 28 - May 18 (Tuesday and Thursday evenings). Learn the foundations of organic land care - topics include: soil biology, botany, composting, soil fertility, waterwise gardening, permaculture, garden installation, tree pruning, landscape health, and garden design. Be prepared for a paradigm shift! Tuition: $695 + GST Space is limited, register early! Register at the Garden Pantry Store, 360 Duncan Street, Duncan. There will be a FREE information session on Monday March 14th at 6:00 pm at CGC. For more information call Nora at 250.748.8506
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