Walnut Park Elementary School students are getting their hands dirty. Together with Jennifer Hegan from Groundbreakers, they have made the garden boxes, planted the seeds and are now caring for the plants. (Chris Gareau photo)

Walnut Park Elementary School students are getting their hands dirty. Together with Jennifer Hegan from Groundbreakers, they have made the garden boxes, planted the seeds and are now caring for the plants. (Chris Gareau photo)

New Good Food Tool Lending Library for preserving local foods and gardens now available.

BV Groundbreakers has dehydrators, canners, and other tools available to loan for preserving your harvest.

Groundbreakers Agriculture Association is a small but strong and growing organization based in Smithers and is a non-profit charitable organization focused on local food and gardening education.

Their mission is to help develop the region’s agricultural economy along with healthy and sustainable lifestyles focused on local foods. At the core of Groundbreakers’ current programs is the objective of having more people, particularly children, be engaged in growing food and experiencing local agriculture and wild foods.

“We believe in building strong, healthy communities through supporting the Bulkley Valley local food economy and teaching citizens, young and old, about the benefits of local food and how to grow their own food and now to preserve it as well through the new Good Food Tool Lending library,” said Jennifer Hegan, Program Lead at BV Groundbreakers.

“We have a dehydrator, canner, large quantity slicer, and a fermenting crock, along with educational books on how to use,” Hegan continued.

“We are delighted to be able to team up with the Out of Hand store in Smithers, who are willing to store and take care of the lending end of the equipment. You just have to be a member of BV Groundbreakers (a $10 annual donation requested), and then reserve your items online, to pick up at the Out of Hand store, it’s very easy,” Hagen said.

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Groundbreakers’ hope is also to help develop food-producing gardens in each schoolyard across the region.

“We are currently active in delivering programming and supporting gardens at Muheim and Walnut Park Elementary schools in Smithers, and at Telkwa Elementary school.”

Their website describes the group as “a team of volunteers who are gardeners and builders working to maintain productive school gardens. We are cooks and teachers bringing lessons, life skills, and good healthy local food to students. We are facilitators collaborating with local food producers, community groups, teachers, and school administrators to help make growing food an accessible and enjoyable part of life. We are advocates of local food activism.”

Now they are able to bring the process of planting, growing, processing, and preserving local foods, and harvests, full circle.

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“We are excited and very appreciative of our local sponsors for making all of this possible. Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Co. has been a long time and ongoing sponsor we owe many thanks to, along with the Bulkley Valley Community Foundation for the grant that made it possible for the new tools in our lending library, the Out of Hand Store for their help and space, and all of the volunteers that keep our programs throughout the communities going,” Hegan acknowledges.

“We started out back in 2013 in an educational capacity, so to see it grow to summer camps, garden clubs at schools, summer student job opportunities, and of course now our lending library, it’s very fulfilling and exciting to see the group and programs continue to expand.”

For more information on any of the programs and lending library contact bvgroundbreakers@gmail.com



deb.meissner@interior-news.com

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