Local food security is getting a boost while individuals looking for work learn critical skills.
On Monday, the provincial government announced $50,429 so four people can get work experience through the Kindale Developmental Association and the Downtown Vernon Association.
“Programs like this help to educate,” said Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, of creating public awareness about food.
“It makes people appreciate where their food comes from.”
Kindale will receive $40,429 and the participants will manage volunteers at Patchwork Farms at Okanagan College, develop a farm-gate market at the college, co-ordinate a gleaning program and compile operational documentation for the community kitchens and Good Food Box programs.
The 30-week program wraps up in late November, and one of the participants is Buffy Rivard, who has learned about gleaning and processing excess crops.
“There are people with backyard fruit trees and they are overwhelmed by what’s produced,” she said.
“We co-ordinate volunteers to go to the residences and harvest the fruit and then it’s shared.”
Besides the property owner and the volunteer, local organizations receive a portion of the gleaned food to provide to residents in need.
The Downtown Vernon Association will get $10,000 so two individuals can produce an operations manual for the Avenue Market. They will also conduct an asset inventory to determine ways to improve the market and urge people to shop downtown.
The 32-week program is scheduled to wrap-up in late January.
“The guide will ensure the Avenue Market remains relevant and sustainable for years to come,” said Lara Konkin, DVA executive director.