VEGETABLES at VanDusen Botanical Garden are feeding people in Vancouver who are experiencing food insecurity, says the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.
Seventy-five per cent of VanDusen’s harvest (about 3,000 pounds by the end of the season) goes to the Gathering Place Community Centre, which serves between 300 and 400 lunches and dinners combined each day to community members who have food security needs.
“Food system sustainability is of great importance. It’s rewarding to see our system and our staff working to better the Vancouver food landscape in this way,” said Camil Dumont, Park Board Chair.
“We’ve been serving fresh, organic salads with the produce we’ve received so far and people love it. We’re looking forward to receiving a variety of produce throughout summer,” said Diane Brown, Food Services Coordinator, Gathering Place Community Centre.
The remaining produce grown at VanDusen is going to Shaughnessy Restaurant, which overlooks VanDusen Garden, for its Taste of the Garden series this summer. Each week, Chef Matthew Phillip will be creating dishes with fresh ingredients harvested from VanDusen’s veggie garden. From appetizers to dessert, produce, botanicals and herbs will be highlighted to inspire what local, urban, sustainable cuisine is all about. A rotating menu with featured seasonal dishes will be available all summer long. The restaurant is donating the money it would spend to buy the produce to Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks.
VanDusen Botanical Garden, located in the heart of Vancouver, spans across 22 hectares (55 acres) with more than 7,500 unique species and varieties of plants arranged in 70 distinct collections. The Garden is jointly operated by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association.
The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation’s Sunset Nursery is also growing vegetables and sending produce to Carnegie Community Centre. Last year, Sunset grew 6,840 pounds of produce, which it sent to organizations that provide residents with access to fresh food.
Sunset Nursery (located at Main and 51 Avenue) is where about 500,000 annuals, most grown from seed, are propagated. The plants are shipped to parks and gardens throughout the city for landscaping.