KinPark Family Drop-In: Dream Big!

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YO team/Bikeworks holiday party

The excitement is building for what we envision for the drop-in centre this year! We can see a booming, creative space full of families and youth – countless unique individuals to make up our KinFarm Family. We are doing our best to use the quiet winter months to prepare for the bursting forth of seedlings, blossoms, and families come springtime at the farm and drop-in. Already underway, we have rough drafts for building cold frames to start early seedlings and drawings for decorating the portable, which is now very close to being moved to the park.

We also expect many of our community partnerships to grow and bloom throughout this coming year, as we carefully cultivate these relationships. One recent example which we are delighted about is our partnership with U-fix it Bikeworks. During our YO team (Youth Outreach) holiday party, Bikeworks was kind enough to shut down their shop and come over to play board games and make pizza with us! We had a great time making art, playing guitar and getting to know one another. As a special holiday gift, we received red wiggler worms from the Bikeworks staff. We’re so thrilled to have composting worms to feed our food scraps to! We are looking forward to continue building this relationship, as well as other partnerships such as the Multicultural Leadership Group, throughout the year.

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VIU WEST participants in the CGC kitchen

For December and January we have moved most of our programming into the CGC boardroom and kitchen to stay warm and dry. It’s been such a pleasure to have access to the community kitchen and to be able to offer some cooking opportunities. One successful example was the Dad’s cooking class, led by our VIU Child and Youth Care intern Graham Cannon. We had a solid group participating every Monday night through December. They learned to make healthy soups and stir fries while building relationships! This year we hope to engage more families and bring in other groups who are interested in participating in cooking classes. Also, this month, we’re excited to be presenting in some classes at Cowichan Secondary and CVOLC (Cowichan Valley Open Learning Centre) to attract more youth into our drop-in. We’re looking forward to your involvement!

Through January, we will continue to have a large craft and cooking focus as we wait out the cold and rainy weather. By February we will already be in the greenhouse starting some seedlings like onion and leeks, and hopefully adding some topsoil to our newly created lasagne garden beds. Stay tuned for a changing drop-in schedule come February! Check out our website for current and upcoming schedules.

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Jason and Rahmi working on their favourite task – shovelling manure!

KinPark Youth Urban Farm

Although the farming season slows at this time of year, we are fortunate here on the island to have warm enough weather that allows us to continue farm tasks. We have been building lasagne beds (sheet mulching) to expand our gardens. With the limited time we spend at the park, we’ve been putting up the poly, generously donated by Buckerfields, on the greenhouse in preparation for spring planting.

Sadly, in mid-December we had to say goodbye to our Canada World Youth interns, Jason and Rahmi. It was such a pleasure to work with them these past few months. They are tireless, always full of smiles and enthusiasm for whatever we asked of them. Their contribution to CGC and KinPark has made a huge difference and is greatly appreciated. They will be missed!

Our partnership with the VIU WEST (Workplace Employment Skills Training) program continues every Thursday morning. We’ve had a lot of fun making recycled bike rim wreaths, centrepieces for an Island Farmer’s Alliance meeting, and holiday cards. The students especially love kitchen time. We’ve had the opportunity to make dough ornaments, kale chips, cookies, apple butter, and pizza dough. The WEST program will be taking a break with us in January, but will be back in full swing with us at KinPark in February to start growing seedlings for their plant sale in May.

Come join us at KinPark and at the Family Drop-In Centre! We look forward to growing with all of you throughout the year! Click here for the 2015 Family Drop-In Centre’s schedule.

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