Summer is here and the fruits of our labours are already showing in the gardens and with the ever-growing CGC family! We have taken the time to plant the seeds, care for them, and hope they flourish, even with sometimes harsh environmental conditions such as drought. As we see time and time again, plants and families alike are at once resilient and beautiful. The families and individuals that take part in our programming make it the diverse arrangement it has become and have impacted our small community in their unique ways. So our gratitude goes out to those who show up and make our world a brighter, happier place, simply by pulling a weed or two, sharing a tale, or lending a hand!
Throughout June we have been planning and working out schedules in transition for KinPark Kids’ Camp. We will be putting out regular drop-in programming on hold for July and August, apart from our KinFarmin’ Fun Work Party which will be happening Thursday mornings from 9-12. A great way to enjoy the outdoors and stay involved! KinFarm Family Drop-in programming will resume in September.
The Family Drop-In/Camp team have been busy building the Tumbling Composters for the Community Gardens to make room for camp in the pool building and allow us to sweep away the cobwebs and mud of the winter to make room for the boots and lunchboxes of the camp kids! Our cooking class is still going strong, with new families joining every week. This incarnation of our cooking classes takes a break for the summer but we will continue to invite camp kids into the CGC kitchen each week to process food they harvest on the farm. We’re calling it our KinPark Kids Cooking class! Chances are, with all the tomatoes, onions and garlic we have in the ground, we will be offering a few canning workshops also! Stay tuned!
Finally, we want to shout out to our fabulous Youth Outreach team. You wonderful folks make a world of difference. Painting signs for the park, washing dishes for the cooking class, leading workshops, battling buttercup in the gardens, and even just showing up to support your teammates – seriously you rock!
Volunteers come and go throughout the seasons at KinPark, but the legacy of the work that is done always remain. Even the toddlers that come through the park and poke at plants, we can still be assured that having a beautiful green space to wander through is making an impact on their young eyes and hands. While we might have to weed the same area again and again, you’re giving those crops a fighting chance, and that certainly helps immensely. We, and the plants, are full of appreciation.
This summer, we are once again part of the “Grow a Row” campaign. Dinter Nursery provides the plants, the folks at Providence help disperse the plants, and we, at KinPark, grow two rows of the donated plants: one row for us to harvest and sell or process as we like, and the other row to harvest and donate to the foodbank. This year’s donation includes tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, beans, onions, and leeks. While we come across many folks in our garden having a “taste but not a feast” from our gardens, we can rest assured that more folks in need will have access to healthy food grown so close to home. We’ve continued to find some small offerings for the Duncan Garage Cafe this past month. The farm’s offerings have been slow to start, as the main crops set their roots and slowly begin to flower. However, we have been able to supply the cafe with healthy harvests of cilantro, parsley, dill, and garlic scapes.
In June we gave a tour of KinPark to the West Coast Otesha tour. Otesha is a group of youth that bicycle around the province and present to schools on sustainability issues. These girls were keen and inspiring! We had a blast pulling out the elderly aphid-infested kale plants. We’ve never seen such creative ‘baseball’ soil removal before. Thanks for making a stop by on your tour! This month we’ve been focusing on transplanting, mulching, and of course keeping everything watered! Mulching has been a saviour. Gratitude goes out to Wes and Jenny from Leftfield farm for their generous donation of mulch. Our berries are much happier now!
We have a few keen helpers, Chris and Darian, from the VIU WEST program coming back to help this summer, which will be a huge help. We’re also thrilled about the addition of our new CAT (Cowichan Agricultural Training) program intern Shannon Cook who will be working at KinPark every Wednesday and Thursday throughout the summer and fall. It’s so exciting to have some regular helping hands! We’re at the park often, so come by to help out or say hi!