Ucluelet Local Food Society founders Lorna Watson and Jeanne Keith-Ferris are excited to welcome the community to a Garden Swap and Learning Series event on Feb. 25.

Ucluelet Local Food Society founders Lorna Watson and Jeanne Keith-Ferris are excited to welcome the community to a Garden Swap and Learning Series event on Feb. 25.

Gardening event in Ucluelet this weekend

Feb. 25 event include deer-proofing tips.

Spring is in the air and that means seeds should soon be in the ground.

The Ucluelet Local Food Society is ready to launch local gardeners into the growing season with a Garden Swap and Learning Series event on Feb. 25.

“Believe it or not, it will soon be time to plant seeds,” said the society’s co-founder Jeanne Keith-Ferris. “So, we want to encourage people to get out and start getting their heads around getting their vegetable gardens ready.”

The Feb. 25 event will include festivities at both the Ucluelet Community Centre and the new community garden that the society helped establish at Edna Batchelor Park.

A Garden Swap and Sale will run from noon to 4 p.m. at the UCC and anyone with extra seeds or equipment they’d like to trade or swap can sign up for a free table by contacting Keith-Ferris at 250-730-4249.

“Because we’re still a fairly new society, we want to plumb the depths out there and find out how many gardeners we have in our community and have a venue for them to come, meet and talk amongst each other; swap seeds and swap gardening gear and get some ideas about how to start of their gardening year with success,” she said.

Master Organic Gardener Connie Kuramoto will present a hands-on demonstration on optimizing growing space at the community garden at 10 a.m. and will also give a presentation on deer-proofing gardens at 1 p.m. inside the UCC.

Keith-Ferris said deer present a significant hurdle for vegetable growers to clear.

“We’re concerned about them because we have them all over the place in town and, I think, it’s important that we also respect our local environment and try to learn to live with these animals that are around us,” she said.

“With some good tips and techniques, people can deter the deer and also still have success in their gardens…We don’t want people’s gardens to be an attractant to bring nuisance deer in, but we also want them to be able to grow their vegetables.”

Keith-Ferris struck the Ucluelet Local Food Society alongside co-founder Lorna Watson in 2016 and, she said, one of the society’s key goals is to revitalize Ucluelet’s self-sufficiency and ability to create its own food sources. She added the town’s recent tsunami evacuation should be a wake-up call for food-security.

“If an unfortunate situation were to arise they’re going to feel better prepared mentally and they will be better prepared physically with having some stores of food around,” she said.

“That sounds rather dramatic and negative, but it is a reality. We’re highly reliant upon the one highway that we have to bring in our food resources. That’s a change because it wasn’t like that in the past….We’re trying to go back and re-learn how to do a lot of those things that our grandparents did quite comfortably.”