Vanderhoof held its 6th annual harvest celebration with local producers at the district’s very own community garden on Aug. 21.
Close to 200 people gathered at the community garden to enjoy a free meal made from locally grown and harvested ingredients. Organized by the Nechako Valley Food Network, the harvest festival celebrates local producers. Some of the catering was provided by Saik’uz First Nations.
The community garden does a lot for the community, said Michelle Roberge, volunteer with Nechako Valley Food Network. By providing a free space to people who may not have the resources to have their own garden, does a lot for the community, she said.
“This year, we had four mentors who we could call upon for specific questions or to get further support in matters related to the community garden. So if we had bug infestations, or questions related to the greenhouse, there were point people or mentors who were contacted and they led the initiative with whatever problem came up and that was really great this year,” she said.
She said people who were using the community garden and were pot holders, were asked to do a little more volunteering outside their space and people signed up to clean the bathroom, and do more weeding around the garden.
“I think that really led people to take more ownership so its more the community space than just having your little spot, so then the whole space becomes yours. And people appreciate it more then.”
“As a result, it led to the garden looking so much better this year. Just absolutely beautiful and very productive. I feel that is just because everybody has really worked together this year,” Roberge said.
Another thing they did differently this year was hold a draw for people who had brought their own dishes. Out of the 200 attendees, 75 brought their own dishes and Roberge said it was both surprising and heart warming. The winner of the draw was given a gift basket to appreciate their support for being environmentally friendly and reducing waste.