Just over a month ago Sarah Crocker and Sarah Ferber, from the Food First NL team in St. John’s, travelled to the Coast of Bays region to visit with two partner sites from the Our Food NL Project -- Miawpukek First Nation and Pool’s Cove.
The first stop down the Bay D’Espoir highway was Miawpukek First Nation. On Tuesday, staff met with Tim Drew, who has recently joined the team as the Coordinator to lead the work in his community. Tim has jumped right into the work -- quickly assisting with coordinating materials and plans for a new community garden.
The community garden program aims to create a community space that hosts garden beds for community members and an outdoor classroom, with a special focus on supplying elders. Since early spring, crews from the Lands Department of Miawpukek First Nation have been working to fence and clear a space for the garden, which is located near the Pow Wow grounds and school.
The following day, Sarah, Sarah, and Tim travelled on to visit Josephine Marshall, the Pool’s Cove Coordinator. There are lots of new food things happening in Pool’s Cove, but the first order of business was to visit the community garden to check out the greenhouses, quail, and chickens. A committee meeting was held that day where each food program was reviewed to gather feedback -- whether about kelp in the garden or sharing guidelines for the community freezer -- and identify next steps for program sustainability.
That evening, the committee hosted an informal gardening chat with the community. 14 people gathered to ask questions and share their knowledge about growing food in Pool’s Cove. One person brought in their seedlings for a check-up, Josephine brought out a new “floating row cover” to help extend the season, and everyone had something to say about the best way of keeping pests out of the garden.
On Thursday, Sarah and Sarah met with the Coast of Bays Community Advisory Committee who were gathering in Harbour Breton and via video conference. These committees are part of every regional health authority and provide community insight into services and programs. Sarah Ferber gave a presentation on food security in the province, and the progress of the Our Food NL Project to date.
Reflecting back on the trip now, we can see that many of the things discussed are now taking root. Tim has taken all the garden notes and made a plan that reflects a traditional medicine wheel. And fruit trees and shrubs have arrived in Pool’s Cove and every garden bed has been planted.
Once arriving back to St. John’s after the trip, Sarah Crocker quickly jumped back into planning for another trip to the Coast of Bays to visit Rencontre East in July, the third partner community in the Coast of Bays as part of the Our Food NL Project. More on that trip to come soon!