The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in hardship for many households in the Sooke Region. The cost of food, especially fresh produce, is a strain on personal budgets.
In March, Sooke associations got together with the Food ECO District to offer the Sooke Backyard Garden Program. The program supports individuals, families and laid-off workers by providing home-based start-up food gardens using simple and affordable supplies. While the supply chain of food to the island has not been impacted by COVID-19, the mass layoffs present a tougher challenge.
Transition Sooke, Sooke Region Food CHI Society and the Sooke Garden Club, has launched a joint Backyard Garden Program that will ease food security concerns for 50 households in our region.
To get involved, use the intake form on the Food ECO District website, and they will pass on your information to the Sooke Backyard Garden Program coordinators to get you growing.
The program involves the delivery of garden bags, four feet by four feet raised beds with premium soil donated by Sooke Soil & Landscape Ltd., local seeds from Full Circle Seeds and starter plants from the Sooke Garden Club and volunteers. Sooke Garden Club’s gardeners provide mentorship to the new gardeners. The Rotary Club of Sooke has recently joined the program with a major financial contribution and participation by some of its members. It is expected that the first vegetables will be ready in July.
Stephen Hindrichs of Transition Sooke, Anita Wasiuta of Sooke Region Food CHI Society, and Robin Zabloski of Sooke Garden Club have spearheaded the program. All three are members of the Food Security and Local Agriculture Team of Transition Sooke.
Anita is excited by the potential benefits of these backyard gardens.
“Growing food is a learning opportunity for all of us, novice and experts alike,” said Anita Wasiuta, Sooke Region Food CHI Society. “Many volunteers and donors have stepped up to share their passion for supporting the families in our region to grow their own food.”