By David F. Rooney
The North Columbia Environmental Society will be working with the Community Connections Food Bank to ensure that its clients will have access to fresh vegetables later this year.
“Earlier this year PT Farm Market closed and that had a big effect on the Food Bank,” Patti Larson, Food Bank manager, told an organizational meeting for this year’s Community Garden on Wednesday evening.
“Tho (Thai, PT Farm Market’s owner) was very generous. Every week we’d get three or four banana boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Natalie Stafl, one of this year’s Community Garden organizers, said NCES gardeners contributed quite a lot of vegetables to the Food Bank last year but no one knows how much. This year, though, they’ll weigh everything on a newly acquired set of scales.
Larson said she hopes other gardeners in town will help the Food Bank through the Plant a Row/Grow a Row Program that sees some gardeners dedicating one row of their vegetable garden to the Food Bank.
She said the late Ivan Graham, who died in January, was an amazing contributor to this program.
“He grew the best squash,” she told the meeting. “He’d clean those squash, cut them up and then wrap the pieces up and deliver them to the Food Bank. It was such a marvellous contribution.”
The Food Bank will also benefit, again, this year from the Gleaning Program, Bear Aware Coordinator Janette Vickers told the meeting.
The Gleaning Program, operated by Bear Aware with the Food Bank, asks the owners of fruit trees to contribute the cherries, apples and plums they don’t eat themselves to the Food Bank, rather then leave them on the ground as windfall.
“Most of the bears that come into town come for looking for garbage but there are a lot of old orchards in town that act as major attractants in the late summer and fall,” she said. “We contributed 600 lbs (about 270 kilos) of fruit to the Food Bank last year.”
Vickers said Bear Aware is actively seeking volunteers to help with the Gleaning Program by gathering excess fruit. Anyone interested assisting with this program should contact Janette Vickers at 250-837-8624 or firstname.lastname@example.org.