With the goal of providing fresh produce for 750 families on the West Island this summer season, West Island Community Shares (WICS) has partnered with the three main food banks of the West Island to create the Solidarity Gardens project.
West Island Mission, On Rock and West Island Assistance Fund have all seen marked increases in food basket requests since the pandemic and subsequent economic hardships that followed.
Besides the three main food banks., 11 agencies supported by WICS will be able to take part in the Solidarity Gardens project as businesses with available green space on their properties and home gardeners donate some of their produce to benefit those less fortunate during these trying times.
The project kicked off on Wednesday at Gouin Park in Pierrefonds-Roxboro where Mayor Jim Beis was joined by Executive Director Suzanne Scarrow of WIM and Sophie McCann of WICS. There is now a section of the park where 12 plant boxes will be installed for fresh food to be grown.
“I’m reaching out to fellow West Island mayors to start a community garden for the cause,” Beis said.
He urged home gardeners to “plant a row for those in need in order to help our neighbours and friends going through these unprecedented times.”
Scarrow told The Suburban that the project also has managed to secure employment “for eight university aged students who will take part in the planting and upkeep of the various gardens throughout the summer.”
“Please think of planting some more produce for others this summer,” said McCann. “We strongly believe that this initiative has all the key elements to support a real systemic change in the West Island.
“This may be the first growing season in what could become a new normal post-COVID. We are proud to support the Solidarity Gardens initiative which involves a multitude of amazing community organizations to provide basic necessities to West Islanders in need,” said McCann.
For more information about how to take part and details on pickup or delivery, go online to the Pierrefonds-Roxboro website or at WICS via www.communityshares.ca.