Vernon garden project will help marginalized women, refugees, children and others in need of healthy food - InfoNews

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Vernon garden project will help marginalized women, refugees, children and others in need of healthy food

Patchwork Farms is located on the Okanagan College Vernon campus.
Image Credit: Facebook/Patchwork Farms
September 14, 2016 - 8:00 PM

VERNON - Good things are growing at Patchwork Farms in Vernon.

The garden, located at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College, has received funding to launch a pilot program aimed at improving food security for marginalized and vulnerable people in Vernon.

The program will lay the groundwork for the Food Action Society of the North Okanagan to help people access nutritious, local organic produce that they helped grow, glean and harvest, states a release from the provincial government, which helped fund the initiative.

The group of people this program is meant for includes street-involved women, adults with mental health issues, young Aboriginal mothers, children and urban youth focused on social justice, refugee and immigrant families, and adults with disabilities, according to the release.

Food action society chair Juris Vinters says many people face food insecurity.

"Food security is something we think happens only to people who are unemployed or homeless,” Vinters says. “In fact, employed people make up the majority of food insecure people in B.C.”

More than $29,000 in work experience funding from the province will go towards the initiative and the hiring of an individual who will manage the program, do event administration, social media marketing and project planning.

"I'm excited to see the Food Action Society of the North Okanagan run this program and help someone gain new skills as she works toward employment. The Patchwork Gardeners program has the potential to make a huge, positive impact in our community,” Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster says in the release.

Other cash contributions to the project include $10,586 from the food action society, $15,000 from the Kindale Developmental Association and $15,900 from the Mental Illness Family Support Centre.

"This is an important project as it provides someone with work experience, while also designing a program that has the potential to help marginalized people have access to healthy food for years to come,” Minister of Social Development Michelle Stilwell says in the release.

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