How does your garden grow, West Coast?
Enjoying local food has long been a fixture of West Coast culture and a grow-your-own movement is starting to spread.
Experienced and aspiring greenthumbs are ready to showcase their knowledge and learn new skills at the Tofino Community Food Initiative’s West Coast Farm and Garden Show from Feb. 22-24 at the Tofino Botanical Gardens.
“The West Coast Farm and Garden show is a grassroots, community driven event that brings together farmers, backyard growers and food enthusiasts of our region,” said the TCFI’s community coordinator Leah Austin. “Through workshops and presentations, we will be providing the skills and inspiration needed to tackle the challenges of growing food on the West Coast. Eating local is not only delicious, it also reduces our carbon footprint and helps support farmers in our neighbouring communities.”
The Tofino Community Food Initiative was launched in 2009 by community members dedicated to fostering food security on the West Coast, according to Austin.
She said food gardening has “reawakened” over the past 10 years, but many residents are still under the false impression that it can’t be done locally.
“I think there is still a bit of a myth that food can’t be grown here because of the fog, rain, rocky land, and slugs,” she said.
The Farm and Garden Show will help combat that false notion by welcoming a garden of vendors and growers who will dish out all the knowledge and fixings for a West Coast spring garden.
“Seasoned West Coast gardeners will be on site to answer all your pressing garden questions,” Austin said. “Children will be delighted by the hayrides around the garden, facepainting, bubbles, planting tables and worm compost demos where they can get their hands in the soil.”
Evening events will include an ‘Off-the-Grid’ dinner with Picnic Charcuterie, a screening of ‘Living the Change’ and a ‘Farmed-Foraged-Found’ dinner with Heartwood Kitchen.
A full schedule of events, as well as tickets and volunteer opportunities, can be found at www.tofinocommunityfoodinitiative.com. Funds raised will go towards supporting the Wickaninnish Community School garden initiative as well as future TCFI events.
“There is something for everyone over the weekend and we look forward to dusting off our trowels and getting our hands in the earth,” Austin said adding free childminding and a free shuttle service will help make the event accessible.
She said the West Coast Farm and Garden Show will be held every two years and supplement the planting-knowledge infusion created by the TCFI’s already popular ‘Seedy Saturdays’ events.
“Gardening is somewhat of a lost skill that is quickly gaining popularity,” she said. “People have the enthusiasm, but not necessarily the knowledge and each community in each region has its own successful garden tips and challenges.”
She added there will also be a presentation on the Coastal Addendum to the Port Alberni Agricultural Plan at the event, which will include information around what residents can do to support the development of West Coast agriculture.