KinPark Youth Urban Farm Growing Stronger

IMG_6308On Thursday, September 17th, Cowichan Green Community experienced the heart-breaking loss of our youth and family drop-in portable at Kinsmen Park, also the home of our urban farm, due to fire.

The portable had been donated to Cowichan Green Community by School District 79 for use as a base for our summer camps and fall programming, as well as a youth and family drop-in centre that was to be launched this fall. We had moved the portable to the park this spring and begun to fill the space with generous donations from our community including a ping pong table, a piano, a beautiful loom, and a pool table from the Chemainus Neighbourhood House.  We were so looking forward to sharing these activities with our community members over the winter months along with crafting, healthy snacks, and farming activities.

Currently, the North Cowichan and City of Duncan Fire Departments along with the RCMP are investigating the cause of the fire. We are grateful for their quick response in the middle of the night to put the fire out and, most of all, thankful that no one was hurt.

We want to express our gratitude to all of our Kin Park neighbours for their support, encouragement, and understanding during this difficult time.

We will be meeting with our insurers to develop a plan for the removal of the building as well as with the Parks and Rec Department of North Cowichan to create a plan for the future of our drop–in programming. It is undetermined at this point if we will be able to rebuild or replace the structure. Our drop-in programming will continue to run utilizing the existing building despite the loss of this amazing community space. We are currently accepting donations and supplies to help us recover what was lost. We are also selling our produce and canned goods in the Garden Pantry Thrift Shop. All proceeds from these goods go back into our programming at KinPark.

KinPark Preserves and Veggies

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A small selection of KinPark goods available in CGC’s Garden Pantry.

From sweet to savoury and everything in between, we’ve got your taste buds covered! Drop by CGC’s Garden Pantry to discover a wide array of preserves all made in the CGC commercial kitchen, using produce grown and harvested at the KinPark Urban Farm. We also have beautiful storage crops for sale too to keep you going in soups and stews all winter long.

Here’s what you’ll find:

Preserves

Green Tomato Relish

Concord Grape Jelly

Pickled Beets

Dill Pickles

Zucchini Relish

Hot Pepper Apple Jelly

Fresh List

Blue Hubbard Squashes

Kuri Squashes

Acorn Squashes

Garlic

Onions

What’s Next at the Farm

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YO teamer Josh and CAT intern Shannon dicing green tomatoes for relish

Despite the devastation of the fire, we are still going strong at the farm, harvesting the last of our tomatoes, supplying kale to the Duncan Garage Cafe, and canning up a storm with our Youth Outreach team, volunteers, coupon-program participants and CAT interns.

We will be welcoming a large group of students from Queen Margaret’s School this month to help us clean-up the community gardens as well as launching the third season of our partnership with the Vancouver Island University WEST program (Workplace Essential Skills Training). A group of twelve 1st and 2nd year WEST students will be joining us at the park every Tuesday and Thursday for the school year to learn all aspects of urban farming and value-added processing. As the weather grows colder and wetter and the farm slows down, our students will also be helping out with the Buckets on Buses lunch program on Thursdays.

It’s going to be an amazing season of growing and building a healthy community!

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