|Mongolians inspire Cowichan community gardens|
In February of this year we were very blessed to have David Megit, a Canadian agricultural specialist, visit the Cowichan Valley (Vancouver Island, British Columbia) on his way back to the Badi Foundation in China. David for the past three years has been working for the Mongolian Development Centre, assisting local villagers in Erdenbulgan, Mongolia to grow their own vegetables.
While in the Valley he shared his expertise in agriculture, experiences and slides with students at Maxwell International Baha'i School and visited Providence Farm, a local therapeutic community where Horticultural Therapy and Vocational Rehabilitation are used as tools to provide programs for people with barriers to education and employment. A great deal of learning occured as people were able to ask questions and share information with each other.
Also while in the valley, David was able to obtain seeds from a number of sources to take back to Mongolia. He would like to express his thanks to Marti Martenwood of Two Wings farm in Metchosin and Lyon Malt of Inwood Nursery, Don and Fereshteh Grenier and Dela Watters of Dinters Nursury in Duncan for their kind donations. David has just wrote Partners to let us know that the first crops of vegetables for the season have been seeded under plastic tunnels in the community garden and are doing well in spite of a frost.
A highlight of David's trip was a meeting at the Cowichan Tribes' Tsewulten Health Centre, where members from a number of gardening initiatives gathered to share ideas and resources. This meeting in turn, has lead to a number of spinoff projects and events.
One very special event was a lovely sustainable garden tour and luncheon for approximately
fifteen First Nations Cowichan Elders at the home of Don and Fereshteh Grenier, who live in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. Guests learned how a garden planted on less than an acre of land sustains and feeds three to four families all year. We viewed winter crops and were treated to Elder Ethel Wilson telling stories of how it used to be. We then all shared gifts of a meal made from the garden and ocean and shared \"good feelings\". It was a wonderful, very heartwarming event that built bridges between people on a solid foundation of sustainable food production and food sustainability. All attending were very open to it happening again as soon as the weather warms and we can go outdoors.
Thanks ever so much to the Greniers for hosting this truly memorable event and to all who came and made it possible. Keep posted for more 'seeds' to sprout...