Comox Valley Child Development Association program unveils new community garden

Noella Rousseau of CVCDA’s Project Inclusion Program checks out the garlic bed at the Free To Grow Community Garden. Photo supplied.Noella Rousseau of CVCDA’s Project Inclusion Program checks out the garlic bed at the Free To Grow Community Garden. Photo supplied.
Mackenzie Jesse of CVCDA’s Project Inclusion Program working in the new Free To Grow Community Garden. Photo suppliedMackenzie Jesse of CVCDA’s Project Inclusion Program working in the new Free To Grow Community Garden. Photo supplied

There’s a new community garden in the Comox Valley, which is doubling as a fundraising initiative for Project Inclusion.

This past spring the Comox Valley Child Development Association’s (CVCDA) Project Inclusion program embarked on a new community initiative at Free To Grow Farm in Comox. The group joined forces with the Helpard family to launch the Free To Grow Community Garden.

The garden provides a hands-on opportunity for members of Project Inclusion while embracing and collaborating with the wider community. It’s been designed to be an accessible and wheelchair-friendly space for people of all capabilities. The garden is intended to be a fun and enjoyable environment for personal growth, friendship, skill learning and much more. “Anybody is welcome to come join in, garden and take advantage of the inclusive learning opportunities the garden provides,” said Wendy Hawksworth, Project Inclusion co-ordinator.

The garden came to be thanks to the generosity of the Helpards, who converted their unused horse-riding ring into a garden in 2020.

“My son Benjamin, who is turning 25 this year became involved with the CVCDA when he was three years old,” said Christine Helpard. “I am always looking for ways to create opportunities for him and his peers. I would like to see the land used as a place for young adults to gain work experience and life skills.”

Having also participated on the CVCDA board of directors herself, it was a natural fit to work alongside the Project Inclusion team on this initiative.

All of the produce will be available for sale weekly. As the garden begins to earn profits from garden sales, funds will be used to cover the cost of their head gardener, Sophie, and potentially honorariums for participants and donations to various groups involved.

Follow the Project Inclusion Facebook Page (facebook.com/cvtyp) for updates on what’s available each week, before it’s sold out. Expected harvest crops this year include herbs, lettuce, beets, spinach, bok choy, suey chow, garlic, carrots, potatoes, watermelon, and fresh flowers.

For further information or interest in visiting the garden, contact Hawksworth at 250-897-5758, or at wendy@cvcda.ca

The Project Inclusion Program is a partnership with the Comox Valley community to guide and support young adults with a disability, increasing their confidence and competence to reach their highest potential and lead fulfilling lives.

ALSO: Comox Valley Child Development Association to host pilot ASD Assessment Clinic

Comox Valleyfood security