Growing a Better Future Project Updates

Amy Floyd, Rural Food Security Policy Analyst

For more information on any of these activities: amypfloyd@gmail.com

“Learn-to-Garden 2021” program for the Nashwaak Valley

In the fall of 2020 surveys went out to shoppers, farmers and home gardeners to get a better idea of projects that people were interested in. One idea that came up several times was engaging seniors as gardening mentors. There are several seniors in the community who have 20 – 50+ years of experience with growing produce, food preservation and raising animals. This seems like a great way to reduce isolation, build inter-generational relationships and teach food security skills. We can do it all with no overhead costs (save a bit of labour time from my position to coordinate)! If the project is successful this year, it would be quite easy for a volunteer to take it on in coming years. Registration began in January and will run until late March.

Community Orchard Regeneration project

There is a very old non-commercial orchard in our community that may contain heritage varieties of apples. The owner gives apples away and hosted our Nashwaak Community Growers group in October for a cider pressing. In return, a group of volunteers will visit the orchard in February and March to share with the hard work of pruning trees. There are over 200 trees and we expect to only get to a handful each year, but that is more than the owner can achieve while working and raising a family. Hopefully this model could be viable for other rural communities.

Expanding the Rural Nashwaak Business Directory

The business directory was started as a volunteer project in 2018. In 2020 it was added to the Nashwaak Community Growers website to allow online access. I put the listing on the site to promote local food vendors, but have had a good response from all kinds of businesses asking to be added. https://www.nashwaakcommunitygrowers.com/local-business-directory

Other Community Promotion

Many people are moving to N.B from Ontario and other provinces. This is our chance as a community to attract new people to area. We would particularly home to attract young people and families. At the end of December, myself and a volunteer met with the Village of Stanley Council to discuss methods of online community promotion. FB: Moving to New Brunswick: Welcome to the Nashwaak Valley.

Meetings on accessible, rural housing for seniors

On January 12 a mix of stakeholders, including the newly formed Upper Nashwaak Seniors Housing Association met on a call to talk about potential options for purpose-built, affordable, seniors housing in the Nashwaak Valley. This project is relative to food security, because the vision of many seniors in this community is to create housing spaces with gardens for food security and health. The housing will also likely have a cooperative/ communal feel to it while keep with individual units. Another call will be scheduled soon.