VIU Student Press

Volunteer with Nanaimo Community Gardens

Volunteer Kent Smith sifting. By Rhyly Bell.
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Are you interested in learning more about organic gardening? Do you want to meet new people in your community?   

The Nanaimo Community Gardens Society (NCGS) is an organization which focuses on the education and awareness of organic gardening, located at 271 Pine Street. They host volunteer drop-in sessions every Tuesday at 10 AM, continuing throughout the fall and winter. During the sessions, volunteers have the chance to work with others and learn how to provide for their own food needs.The drop-ins will be focused on harvesting, weeding, tool preparation, and more for the next few months during the cold season.  

Lee Sanmiya, one such volunteer, spoke out on why the program is important.   

“We do have some hands-on opportunities, so when people come to work parties they can work alongside other people and learn gardening slowly over time in a [stress-free] environment.”  

“The importance of having the drop-ins is because we do have a number of people who come by and that makes social events for them, so not only are they learning, but it’s their community, they’re meeting other people, they’re feeling like their work is valued. It gives them something to do. They learn while they’re doing it. There is definitely that social aspect,” she said.  

Sanmiya also took the time to explain why growing your own food and learning about local foods is important.   

“What people have heard a lot lately is how precarious the food supply is here on Vancouver Island, how subject to interruption from [things like] the dairy strike or if there was a natural disaster, so it does make sense that people are able to at least provide some of their own food or learn about locally available food. If it means going to farmer’s markets or getting taught at a local community garden, local food is important.”   

“Even if nothing happened, which we all hope it won’t, we still need to support local farmers, because people who care for the land, they’re stewards of the land, it’s important that what they do is supported. If their land is not developed, then it’s important to have a customer base that will support them and for it to be available for future generations,” she added.

In addition to the drops-ins, the NCGS also offers several different workshops on different subjects about gardening that are available throughout the year. To find out when the next one is, click here.