A downtown urban garden grown in partnership between EcoTrust Canada and Metlakatla opened its gates to the public in Prince Rupert on Sept. 3.
Gilwilgoots Hereditary Chief, Nistoix (Clarence Nelson), officially welcomed the community to the Sndoyntga Lax Kx’een Maxłaxaała garden with a speech to the attending crowd which included North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice and City Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven.
The garden’s name translates to “the community garden of Lax Kx’een and Maxłaxaała” and is an effort to educate the community about food sustainability while making creative use of a vacant lot in the core, which is owned by Metlakatla Development Corporation.
The goal of the project is to demonstrate to Prince Rupert residents what is possible to grow in the community, to take the community garden’s ideas back into their own back yards and try to get as much food grown in town as possible, Charles Gerein, food system coordinator for EcoTrust Canada, said.
Chief Nistoix said that the urban garden will add to the community’s food security and will help teach young people how to grow their own food.
Gerein said the project’s location is key for what they hope to accomplish.
“We’ve chosen a visible lot and we want people to pass by and notice what we’re growing.”
Skelton-Morven said the project shows what’s possible when organizations come together and collaborate.
“From a city standpoint, this is something that allows us to kind of be able to provide a proof of concept for local food systems,” he said.
Funding for the first year of the project has been secured, Gerein said. Data, such as what is grown, volumes, the weight of produce and donations will be tracked over the year. This will assist EcoTrust Canada with decisions on what should be grown in future years and how funding may be pursued. Results from the data will help with sales information to fund the project.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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