Since 2004 the Cowichan Green Community Society (CGC) has striven to bring environmental stability to the Cowichan Region. They actively work to promote food security for their community.
“CGC is focused on projects and initiatives that are food-security focused and help build community, food, and resilience in the Cowichan Region,” Says Heather Kaye, Market Manager. Some projects run by CGC include the KinPark Youth Urban Farm, a small-scale demonstration farm in Downtown Duncan. They also operate the Incubator Seed farm to help train emerging farmers in sustainable seed production, and they even recently launched a Food Waste Recovery project aimed at developing a model for diverting food waste from landfills into compost or animal feed streams.
In addition to these demonstration projects, the CGC offers workshops and classes for the community. “We organize and host a wide variety of workshops and events every year including our Annual Seedy Sunday to support local seed and plant producers, up-cycling craft workshops, food preservation workshops (like how to can salmon or make grape jelly), and community gardening events,” says Kaye. “Our events are well-attended and can range from a small intimate workshop of 8 or 10 up to Seedy Sunday which generally attracts over 800 people.”
Their next event is their 7th Annual Cowichan Eat Local Challenge & Potluck on May 29th. During this event, participants pledge to eat only local food for 24 hours, finishing with an all-local potluck.
Their Annual General Meeting is also coming up. The AGM will take place on May 29, 2018 from 4:30-7:30 pm at 930 Trunk Road in Duncan, BC. “This year’s AGM is showcasing our food-recovery team who will be providing the community with an update on how far along the waste recovery model is and why it is important we initiate such a project,” says Kaye.
This year also marks the 9th anniversary of the CGC farm map and guide. The CGC actively works to promote local small-scale farms. “We provide over 50 local farmers with marketing opportunity through our annual farm,” says Kaye. “And we work closely with the Duncan Farmers’ Market to coordinate the Famers’ Market Nutrition coupon program every year which places $18,000 or more directly back into farmers’ pockets while providing low-income families and seniors with $15.” Many of the farmers and food processors who market through the CGC farm guide also use the CGC’s commercial kitchen to process their products, “and many of the same farms are also members of the Cow-op,” says Kaye.
“Cow-op is a farmer and food processor co-operative in the Cowichan Valley with a mission to increase on-farm viability in the region,” says Kaye. “Cow-op is working in partnership with CGC to develop a comprehensive Food Hub for our region.”
This year marks the third season of operation for the cow-op’s online farmers’ market. They also recently published a cookbook: Cowichan Grown: Seasonal Recipes and Local Wisdom. The cookbook celebrates “our local farmers and food processors as well as indigenous elders in our community with a connection to local and foraged food,” says Kaye.
“We want to ensure that everyone in our community has access to safe, ecologically sound and culturally appropriate food at all times,” says Kaye. “We also want to ensure precious agricultural land stays in production, which is why we work hard to help farmers grow and market their products.”
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