Big Ideas: $100,000


Since 2016 the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank ( and the RARE Charitable Research Reserve ( have been operating a very successful food bank garden that is growing more than 6, 000 lbs. per year of fresh, local and organically grown food by the community, for donation to those in need in Cambridge and North Dumfries. Our Food Bank also serves partner agencies which include meal programs and our shelters - resulting in a large increase of nutrient dense food into programs that serve food insecure people. This garden has also led to partnerships with other non-profits including Seeds of Diversity who are now growing seeds on our site, which are saved for future generations and distributed for propagation to other farms and home gardeners. We are also partnered with our local library's seed saving program and run our own educational programming where those that rely on the food bank are also invited to learn how to grow their own food weekly.

This season Dr. Andrew Judge built a small Indigenous garden in our food bank orchard. Our organizations have identified an amazing opportunity for expansion, led by Indigenous people, that would allow our garden to include a large space devoted to indigenous foods and culture as well as create a passive solar greenhouse which would extend our growing season - thereby feeding people for longer periods of the year as well as to increase our educational programming for those inside and outside of the Food Bank.

The Indigenous foods expansion of the rare/Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank Garden (in the entire fruit orchard) and the addition of a passive solar greenhouse and learning space that serves all of the food bank gardens and rare will lead to the production of fresh foods native to the region grown for donation to the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank and for other community-building and conservation-based opportunities. Food grown will be donated to the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, for ceremonial purposes that benefit Indigenous peoples, for special gatherings and for educational purposes that support the rare and CSHFB missions. The space will be viable for knowledge exchanges, education, and for the propagation of rare and Indigenous plants. Seed saving and food distribution will be the focus for the purpose of recovering Indigenous food systems while feeding those in need in Cambridge and North Dumfries as well as Indigenous communities in need. The uses, storage, and preparation of native plants, community conservation efforts and poverty mitigation will be featured.


1) Produce fresh Indigenous foods (grown for donation to Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, knowledge sharing and for the propagation of rare and sacred Indigenous crops including seed saving for the purpose of recovering Indigenous food systems)
2) Design agricultural and educational programming based on organic farming, community building, grass-roots poverty mitigation and Indigenous land-based learning which: create opportunities for food bank members, community volunteers, Indigenous people, youth and students
4) Build strong partnerships with Indigenous and non Indigenous community members, academic institutions, organizations and corporate sponsors
5) Respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Call to Action by creating Indigenous leadership opportunities and by enhancing Indigenous inclusion and engagement at both rare and the CSHFB

This work fosters a new model for poverty mitigation, sustainable agriculture, ecological restoration, community engagement and community gardens that is rooted in Indigenous land-based practices and sacred knowledge.

More about our current garden can be found on-line:

Broker supported

Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank

Location: Cambridge