Comox Valley residents are being asked to roll up their sleeves and get dirty for this year’s Earth Day. The Mid Island Farmers Institute and LUSH Valley are helping to coordinate the cleanup of the former compost demonstration garden on Saturday, April 22nd from 10am-12pm at 4795 Headquarters Rd. All residents, young and old are invited to participate.

For many years, the garden served as a teachings site for how to do composting, make worm bins, and reduce biodegradable waste that was previously going to the landfill. When the CVRD voted to stop funding the garden, the site was left vacant for a number of years. In 2016, the CVRD renewed a lease for the garden to the Comox Valley School District. The Mid Island Farmers Institute approached the district to help turn to garden into an outdoor classroom for Vanier students.

“Supporting students, especially around horticultural education, is one of the mandates of the Mid Island Farmers Institute”, explains Arzeena Hamir, Institute President. “We were successful in receiving a grant from Island Health to kick-start the rejuvenation process and we’re excited to participate with the students and the community to help make the site thrive again”.

“We are thrilled to support the Mid-Island Farmers Institute as they breathe new life into this space. Community gardens are an integral part of community development as they bring people together, and give us an opportunity to interact with our food from the ground to the table,” says Jessica Hawkins, the Executive Director of Lush Valley. “This initiative is in line with our Community Gardens Action Plan, which lays out a path towards providing more community spaces for people to grow food together”.

Although the site is fully fenced and has access to water, many of the plants have been left un-pruned and Scotch Broom has invaded the center of the garden. Volunteers are asked to bring gloves, pruners and shovels to help remove the invasives and build new garden beds. LUSH Valley will be providing refreshments for volunteers.

Arzeena Hamir

President, Mid Island Farmers Institute