$25,000 to fund Central Okanagan food production for food bank

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KELOWNA – Grab those gardening gloves and bring a shovel, because a grant from the province is set to make large scale community gardening a reality in the Central Okanagan.

Grow Local is a $250,000 program with a mission to fund farming initiatives in the province, according to a release from the Government of B.C. Kelowna is one of ten B.C. communities chosen to receive funding. Grow Local has pledged $25,000 to The Central Okanagan Community Farms Society.

With the money, the society is set to begin the '50,000 pounds - 50,000 smiles' project, the release states. The goal of the project is to grow 25,000 lbs. of produce per year for two years. Produce will be grown at a community farm and will benefit social service agencies of the Central Okanagan.

Hands-on instruction, field days, seminars and presentations at fairs and public events, will all serve as education opportunities for the participants. The program aims to get locals involved in growing fruit and vegetables while increasing awareness of local food production, all while helping to strengthen the local food supply.

Volunteers from the Central Okanagan Community Farms Society will get the chance to grow food on a larger scale. The harvests will be shared with the Lake Country Food Assistance Society and the Central Okanagan Food Banks.

"This grant will allow us to expand our efforts to grow food for social service agencies in the Central Okanagan and beyond, using volunteers who will learn new skills from seasoned growers; and to expand the incubator farm program, where new farmers are given an opportunity to try farming on small plots using shared equipment and receiving advice from experienced farmers," Bob McCoubrey of the Central Okanagan Community Farm Society says in the release.

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