David Laing and his wife, Laura, of People Power, have been visiting the Community Place Garden once a week. They have been hired by the South Cariboo Sustainability Society to help tend the garden and harvest the vegetables. Millar Hill photo.

A successful start to the low-income family initiative, Bags of Plenty

“I know it’s only a $20 bag of vegetables a week, but it adds up.”

An additional three families have been added after the launch of People Power’s low-income family initiative.

The project launched in July and after a few weeks, David and Laura Laing of People Power are now providing a total of seven families with a fresh bag of vegetables each week.

“It has been going really well,” said Laing. “This is the fourth week of the initiative and everyone is really happy to be getting the vegetables.”

Laing said shortly after the launch, the couple identified an additional three other families that they wanted to help.

“I put on the Facebook page that we had already begun giving food to those families but we would be able to give them more food if sponsors wanted to come forward,” said Laing. “The next day, we had the money we needed to be able to cover the additional three families. So, now we have seven families getting a $20 bag of vegetables and it’s going extremely well.”

Laing said the families have expressed how much of a difference a bag of vegetables a week makes.

“I know it’s only a $20 bag of vegetables a week, but it adds up,” said Laing. “If you don’t have very much money to spare, you are probably buying cheap food that isn’t as nutritious. To be able to get fresh vegetables right out of the garden that is grown organically is not something everybody can afford.”

Laing said she has been overwhelmed (in a good way) by the community’s generosity towards donations to make this project as successful as it has been.

”There are people who are out there that want to help. It makes me feel good when the people receiving the food seem so happy about it. I like to be doing nice things for people.”

The couple plan to do this again next summer.

“Over the fall or winter, we plan to register as a non-profit society, so that we can hopefully get some grants and funding from other sources so we are not just relying on the community,” said Laing. “The bags would be funded equally by an outside source and us as well.”

In efforts to make the community, even more, greener, the Laings have been taking a break from their garden at Horse Lake to tend the Community Place Garden in town.

“We’ve been here every Tuesday for the last five weeks,” said David Laing.

The garden is supported through the South Cariboo Sustainability Society (SCSC), South Cariboo Agri-Culture Enterprise Centre, the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre and the District of 100 Mile House. Peter Jarvis, who is the secretary for the South Cariboo Sustainability Society, said the committee hired the Laings to help once a week, simply because it’s become hard to find volunteers.

“This food is here for anybody, you don’t have to be a member of a group and it doesn’t matter whether you have money or not,” said Laing. “People can come and harvest something to take home, that’s the whole point of this. Somebody needs to eat this stuff.”

The Laings have been brainstorming some ideas to get the most out of it.

“I would like to see more food being produced and more people accessing the food. We have some ideas that could tackle both of those, but it’s not up to us,” said Laing. There is so much space here, where more food can be grown, but then we need people to know about the food and eat it.”

About once a week, Laing has been donating some of the vegetables from the garden to the local food bank. The community garden is located on the corner of Birch Avenue and First Street.

“It’s open to everybody and anybody that needs to use it,” said Jarvis. Whether it’s just to bring their sandwich down at lunchtime and add to it or pull vegetables out of the garden.”

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