Funding pursued for Vernon community garden project

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has been asked by the Community Farm Action Team to provide $10,000 a year for community gardens.

Plans for community gardens need to be fertilized financially, but that may be a challenge.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has been asked by the Community Farm Action Team to provide $10,000 a year for community gardens.

“The (2012) budget is already set so I’m not sure where we get the money,” said Mike Macnabb, GVAC chairperson.

The money would go towards hiring an individual to co-ordinate the existing community gardens in the area and future projects, including a proposal for a farm-based operation at Okanagan College.

But while the parks and recreation department may not have money, assistance could come from the Regional District of North Okanagan’s regional growth strategy.

“The value goes far beyond parks,” said Trafford Hall, RDNO administrator.

Staff will review the situation further and report back to GVAC directors April 5.

Community gardens — which are part of broader food security activities — are currently run by volunteers.

But action team members insist there is a need to move towards a paid co-ordinator.

“Volunteers are great but that model is not sustainable and you need someone to take leadership,” said Wendy Aasen, spokesperson, of management and programming.

Kindale Developmental Association has agreed to help facilitate the co-ordinator’s role.

Presently, there are two community gardens in the BX and one at the former West Vernon school.

Future initiatives could include gardens at Vernon Secondary School, Marshall Field and the farm at Okanagan College.

Aasen believes community gardens provide a recreational, cultural, environmental and social benefit.

“It’s a goodwill gesture that shows support for agriculture,” she said.