April showers bring May flowers, and new stuff is blooming with excitement at the KinFarm Family Drop-In Centre. Along with blooming, April was full of hatching all sorts of new experiences; including baby chicks! We ran workshops on natural Easter egg dying followed by an Easter egg hunt at KinPark, as well as workshops on dream catcher making, animation, and digital photography led by youth from our Youth Outreach team. We also collaborated with Community Options Society and the Multicultural Leadership Group to gather and paint t-shirts for Cowichan Women Against Violence Society’s clothesline project for Prevention of Violence Towards Women Week. The painted t-shirts showcase messages of how people are impacted by violence towards women. The t-shirts were then hung up on clothesline for display at the Cowichan Vancouver Island Regional Library.
We have also been cooking up a storm with the Family Cooking Class hosted at CGC’s commercial kitchen. April’s menu featured yummy local food in the following meals: rhubarb muffins, potato leek soup, and crackers and hummus. As a special guest, we had Chef Stella Johnson join us to teach the art of veggie lasagna and bannock. To find out more or to register for a class, join our Facebook group “Cowichan Family Cooking!” These classes are free, for kids 5+. Bring your family and a container!
With May on the way, we continue to plan more free workshops, cooking classes, KinFarmin’ Fun Work Parties, and a very exciting event called Chill Fest. In collaboration with Canadian Mental Health Association, we are planning an event for Mental Health Awareness Week. The event will be full of stress relieving activities, such as Tai Chi, creating a Zen garden, and splatter paint. Community members will also be welcome to have a picnic and enjoy some stone soup. Chill Fest will be on May 9th from 12pm-4pm at KinPark! Check out our website more details!
Another exciting event happening once a week is our KinFarmin’ Fun Work Parties! People are welcome to come learn about farming, and contribute to an ever-growing community project for all to enjoy. Come help plant some seeds and watch them grow over time! Our KinFarmin’ Fun Work Parties are held every Thursday from 1pm – 4:30pm. For May’s jull schedule, check out below.
We are in full bloom at KinPark, with apples, plums and kale showing their lovely flowers. The excitement of the growing season builds as our greenhouse is filling up with tomatoes, peppers, brassicas, lettuce, and flowers. Out in the gardens we seeded some beets, carrots, onion sets, and some buckwheat cover crop. With the help of our intern Chris Oldnall, who finished his internship at the end of the month, we have been harvesting kale every week for the Duncan Garage Cafe. Our late-summer planted kale is starting to bolt, so that means we can harvest the delicious kale buds, which is similar to rapini, or broccoli raab. The Duncan Garage Cafe was thrilled to buy it all and served it up on Pad Thai and other stir fry’s they sold those weeks. Yum!
We are happy to report that our raspberry trellis is finally installed! We have been pulling the tenacious grass encroaching onto our raspberries and trying to smother it out with newspaper and alder mulch. Our awesome VIU WEST program interns have been working hard on this, as well as turning soil, and seeding. Other April projects included building potato towers, where we will grow potatoes vertically instead of horizontally. This is a demonstration of how to save space by growing in small spaces! Thanks goes out to our helper Bailey, for finishing up all the woodwork on the towers.
Community gardeners have been out and about. Evidence of their care for the plots resides in neat little rows of crops in weed free beds. We hosted a community garden clean-up to spur the gathering of community, and ordered a load of soil from Hillside for gardeners to add to their plots. Bit by bit we’re also piecing together the tumbling composters to try reduce the rodent population. Our resident rats have been chomping at the bit for warmer weather and more abundant food sources, or more recently our seedlings in the greenhouse. We are doing our best to keep them at bay and reseed what has been mowed down. Another struggle of an urban farm is theft. Unfortunately, the majority of the herb plants we bought at Dinter’s Nurseries for our Food Forest have been swiped clean out of the gardens. Although this is disheartening, we will not be discouraged, as we know the work we do is greatly appreciated by the community.
We will continue to make KinPark a beautiful, safe space for all to enjoy and are full of gratitude for everyone who supports us in little and small days. All the passersby who give us a smile, a nod of encouragement, or a simple “looks great – keep up the good work” make us smile our work worth the effort. Come hang out in the gardens with us — There’s always much to do or enjoy from afar! Join us Mondays 1:30pm-3:00pm, Tuesdays 10:00am-12:00pm, or Thursdays 1:00pm-4:30pm for our KinFarm Community Work Party.