Wellington Secondary Food Forest
Created September 26, 2013 by Paige Turner
LocationNanaimo British Columbia, Wellington Secondary
Funding Level$100k - 150k (< 2014)
Community SizeMore than 1,000
OverviewNanimo Community Food Forest
From Nanaimo, Wellington, Dover Bay, and Woodlands secondary are in the centre of a town that has one of the highest poverty rates in British Columbia. Our goal is to help our community by creating food forests that would allow anyone to harvest fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.
A Food Forest is exactly what it sounds like; a forest that’s there for the purpose of growing food. It’s a sustainable landscape that would work to provide food to anyone: people looking for a snack as they walked by or to people who aren't sure where their next meal is coming from. Similar to the idea of a community garden, it would give people in an urban area the chance to harvest fresh, local produce. However, unlike a community garden, a food forest is much more sustainable, and easier to maintain.
The way food forests are laid out is similar to that of a real forest. With multiple layers ranging from tall trees to a green blanketed ground layer, food forests use every last bit of space. Also by carefully selecting the plants that make up the forest, you can prevent or minimize the need for weeding by choosing the species that will thrive in the areas where weedy plants usually dominate.
Implementing food forests in the high schools of Nanaimo would have a huge impact, not only on the kids, but on the community as well. People would be able to harvest whatever food they might need from the forest, and kids from the school would be able to help themselves at lunch. Imagine sending your kids to school, knowing that the food served in their cafeteria was made with fresh local fruits and vegetables. Envision a mother who can’t afford to send her child to school with a lunch, knowing that when her child gets to school, there will be food there waiting for them. Not only would this enable people to help themselves rather than having to accept charity, but it also allows people to make healthy choices; which if they have financial restrictions, they may not always be able to do.
Wellington, Dover Bay, Woodlands and Lady Smith's Secondary schools environmental clubs vision is to collaborate with local first nations and non first nations groups to bring food forests to Nanaimo high schools, and combine them with First Nations healing gardens. The idea behind a healing garden is to accomplish two main things. First: to help First Nation’s residential school survivors heal by giving back some of their culture. This includes teaching First Nations elders who were victims of residential schools about the traditional healing methods they never had the opportunity to learn.We also hope to simultaneously educate the entire community about traditional First Nations healing plants and methods of use.
The final picture we have for the healing garden would be to have plant markers with QR codes on them corresponding to a specific plant. These QR codes would be linked to apps created by students at the schools. When scanned by a smart phone, people would be led to our youtube channel to a video with First Nations elder (a residential school survivor) talking about the plant and how it is used in Native medicine. This process would help to bring First Nations people back to their roots, and also to teach the community more about the First Nations culture.
We have sat down and looked into how much money it would take to start up a basic food forest at all the high schools in Nanaimo, as well as the costs for everything surrounding the healing garden. The numbers come to something like this:$20,000 Would go towards assembling First Nations elders so that they can both learn and teach the next generation together in order to learn about the traditional healing practices. Part of this $20,000 will also cover video production costs, which will go towards teaching the greater community about both Food Forests and our Healing Gardens. $10,000 would go to covering high school field trips to gather and transport the traditional plants.$72,000 Would be split between Dover Bay, Woodlands and Lady smith secondary, as these are our partners who will are working with us to see a Food Forest near there school community. 48,000 Would get basic food forests started at the remaining high schools in the district.
Check out more about our project at http://www.facebook.com/index.php#!/nanaimocommunity.foodforest Nanaimo food forest@nanaimofoofores