LOCAL FLAVOUR: Serenity Farm grows more than vegetables

June 26 0pen house at the garden located on grounds of the Seven Oaks Facility on Blenkinsop Road

By Linda Geggie

For the Saanich News

Many years ago, I worked with David Stott on a pretty amazing project, called the Garden Training Project. This was an initiative that supported mainly single parents to make social connections, learn new skills, and grow food. I heard from David this week when he wrote me to invite me to an open house for a similar project in Saanich called Feeding Ourselves and Others.

David writes that “Twice a week, spring to fall, at a large garden overlooking the Blenkinsop Valley, a small miracle occurs. A very mixed group of 15 to 20 people gather together to work, talk, laugh, and learn to grow food for themselves and others in our community. Our official name is Feeding Ourselves and Others, but our real name, as the participants call us, is Serenity Farm”.

For the last six years this unique project has impacted the lives of people in the Victoria area. The Feeding Ourselves and Others community garden project was created to provide a therapeutic environment for marginalized people struggling with addictions, mental illness and chronic offending. This project is a partnership between the John Howard Society of Victoria as the sponsor, Island Health, the Assertive Community Treatment teams (ACT), the Victoria Integrated Community Outreach team (VICOT), the Victoria Integrated Court, and the Seven Oaks Tertiary Care Facility.

In the garden, located on the grounds of the Seven Oaks Facility, participants and community volunteers work side-by-side to produce healthy organic vegetables and fruit which are provided free to the participants and community agencies, and sold to the community. Between April and October last year a total of 33 participants and 18 volunteers worked in the garden. Together they contributed over 2,400 hours producing over 4,000 pounds of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers for sale and for themselves. These activities helped to generate over $8,000 for the project.

David let me know that he is most proud of “ the wonderful way that each time the volunteers and participants get together a real sense of commitment and camaraderie forms. People are coming, not because they feel obliged to be there, but because they want to be there, all of us benefiting in various ways from our time together”.

Want to see this garden in action? You are invited to their annual open house on Tuesday, June 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the garden which is located on the grounds of the Seven Oaks Facility, 4574 Blenkinsop Rd. Come out to see the garden and meet the people who make it all happen. If you need additional information please contact serenityfarm2018@gmail.com.

Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at lgeggie@cfair.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Beefs & Bouquets, April 8

To submit a beef or a bouquet, email publisher@goldstreamgazette.com

West Shore first responders salute health care staff at Victoria General Hospital

Students and first responders support those on the frontline against COVID-19

Trio of rock shows rescheduled for Alix Goolden Hall

Bowie tribute show, Martin Barreā€™s Jethro Tull show and Tommy Emmanuel all booked for late fall

Colwood mayor advocates for zero per cent tax lift for 2020 in light of COVID-19

Mayor Rob Martin also advocating for tax deadline extension

Annual Goddess Run goes virtual with few registration spots remaining

Participants can share their route, time and photos online

VIDEO: Easter festivities may be scaled back, but it can still be a fun holiday

COVID-19 circumstances have dictated that the holidays may not be perfect

COVID-19 world update: U.S. to start antibody tests; drones enforce lockdown in Italy

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world

Lower Mainland hunting store sees 200% increase in firearm sales

Co-owner of Wanstalls says increase due to a variety of reasons

People needing addiction services feeling ‘abandoned’ during pandemic

The province is trying to increase access to addiction care through a phone line of experts, doctors

COVID-19: B.C. ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Marcia Kent says situation is difficult but worth it to keep twin boys safe

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

VIDEO: Community rallies around Campbell River fire victims

Emergency Social Services volunteers logged over 100 hours in first day after fire

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

Most Read