Aldergrove church granted $10,000 to grow food, skills
On Thursday, Feb. 9, representatives of VanCity Credit Union presented St. Dunstan’s Anglican Church with a $10,000 grant that will expand the church’s “Garden-to-Table” initiative. This unique church program enables community members to develop food and garden skills and enhance food security.
Since April, St. Dunstan’s has been facilitating the weekly Garden-to-Table meal, at which community members garden, cook, and eat together.
The VanCity grant enables this program to expand, offering several “Community Kitchen” series of 20-week classes during which members learn food skills and cook a healthy meal together every week.
In addition, the VanCity grant funds a garden facilitator who will teach gardening skills, co-ordinate volunteers in St. Dunstan’s Community Garden, and help people get started on their own gardening projects.
Food grown in St. Dunstan’s Community Garden will go to community meals, those in need, and the Aldergrove Food Bank.
Last April, St. Dunstan's started the community garden on their land. Every Thursday, church and community members gather to garden together, cook together, and eat together.
The Garden-to-Table weekly gathering does several things simultaneously. It offers food support, social support, and skills support, as well as enhancing food security and raising environmental awareness. In addition, it's fun.
If a person is hungry, they can come and get a delicious free meal — and often take some home with them. If a person wants to connect and contribute, they can find a positive outlet. Everyone is learning skills, such as gardening, composting, food preparation, food safety, as well as connecting with people from different backgrounds.
"We believe that everyone has needs, and everyone has gifts to contribute. Garden-to-Table is a place where people can bring both their needs and their gifts, where we are 'growing together,'" said spokesperson Christina Ray.
"Although Garden-to-Table emerges from our Christian understanding of what we are to be doing in the world, it is not a 'religious' program. We are open to people from every background. So far, we have hosted seniors, those with disabilities, and young people of all ages."
Garden-to-Table is supported by local merchants and organizations, including the Aldergrove Rotary Club, the Organic Farm Connection, Lotusland Vineyards, Milsean's, Langley Environmental Partners (LEPS), Langley Costco, and the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.
Everyone is welcome to the weekly Garden-to-Table meal, every Thursday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Dunstan’s Anglican Church, 3025 - 264 St., Aldergrove.
In the spring, watch for the new Community Gardening programming and the Community Kitchen series for low-income adults and for recent immigrants.
For more information, call St. Dunstan’s at 604-856-5393.