Seeds transforming into vibrant plants demonstrates the Upper Room Mission’s goal of helping lives blossom.
Planters in front of the 27th Avenue agency abound with brightly coloured flowers.
“It’s beautification of the property and the neighbourhood,” said Bobbe MacKenzie, a board member.
“We are part of downtown and we want to make the place prettier.”
But beyond esthetics, there is a practical reason behind the garden program.
“We are using the produce in the kitchen,” said MacKenzie of the tomatoes and herbs being grown.
The fresh food, which is helping cut down on the grocery bill, is proving popular among clients.
“I haven’t seen one tomato turn full red before they’re consumed,” said Dan Lee, an outreach worker.
Clients are encouraged to help with watering and, in return, they may access food hampers to take home.
“It’s a chance for them to give back,” said MacKenzie of the chores.
The garden project has proven to be a real community effort.
The City of Vernon provided the planters and donations came from Art Knapp Plantland, Swan Lake Nurseryland, Flower Spot, Rona, Briteland, Surplus Herby’s, Fisher’s Hardware and RBC Dominion Securities.
Those donations ultimately leveraged $5,000 from the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan.
“It’s a pretty good investment,” said Michael Tindall, Community Foundation president.
“The program provides food for the mission and it involves the clients. We hope our donation will spur more support from the community.”
A second phase of the program is already being planned for next year.
It would include a shed and a garden at the rear of the property.
“We want to teach people how to grow a garden,” said Lee, adding that such a skill not only allows people to feed themselves, but it provides self-confidence.
“If the average person sees a seed return to their plate, that’s a big thing for them.”
For more information about donating to the Upper Room Mission, call 250-549-1231.