As a member of the Bowen Island FoodResilience Society (BIFS), I was overjoyed to learn on Mother’s Day that we were awarded a Community Resiliency Fund Grant by the Bowen Island Community Foundation with the support of Bowen Island Municipality.
We had been focused on developing a proposal for engaging more people and expanding agricultural activity on Bowen Island when the pandemic hit. This grant arrives just in time for us to get some vegetables into production this summer, to help with food needs on the island.
While no one welcomes the virus, the upheaval it has caused has had a number of interesting side effects. Turning our attention to what is essential, like food, is one. As many of us have learned, a functioning food supply system is critical to our survival and peace of mind.
Timing is everything. While BIFS was weighing how best to help with food insecurity among island residents, we were presented with two opportunities at once: the creation of the resiliency fund and an invitation to use a portion of the Agricultural Land Reserve near Grafton Lake.
Formerly operated as Grafton Garden, the property is part of John Reid’s conservation development project, “The Grafton Lake Lands.” According to John, it was always meant to be a garden that benefits the broader Bowen Island community and future residents of the development equally.
This summer, we are cultivating about one quarter of an acre in an effort to support the food bank and any individuals who may need supplemental food assistance. Economic projections suggest that food prices will increase, making it even tougher on families whose income has been reduced. Having access to land and grant support now means we will have potatoes and squash to harvest this fall.
The Grafton Agricultural Commons Project will address two aspects of community resiliency, the challenge of food security and the isolation that physical distancing has made worse. While focusing on food production, we will also be inviting others in the community to join the project – as soon as we have our COVID safety protocols in place .
“This is truly a silver lining,” says Rabia Wilcox, another BIFS member. “We find ourselves in the right place at the right time, ready to help the community and ourselves learn more about regenerative practices and what it means to be resilient.”
Look for announcements in upcoming Undercurrent issues and on social media. For more information on how you can get involved, please write to BIFS at: firstname.lastname@example.org