Keith Starling hosts the Food Bank Garden at Take to Heart Mill north of Revelstoke on Westside Rd. Jenna Fraser coordinates with Starling through Community Connections and Bryce Borlick is the Garden Coordinator for the project. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)

Growing vegetables for the Revelstoke Food Bank

Keith Starling and his family have been growing produce in their garden up at Take To Heart Mill for the past seven years and donating much of it to the Revelstoke food bank.

Starling said that when he started he didn’t know anything about gardening and spent the first year involved with the community garden downtown, learning everything he could.

“I just saw some of the food that was (at the food bank), and it is a great thing, but to me it just looked like filler food–not very nutritious,” he said.

Every year since then Starling has been doubling the size of the garden.

“Every year, from the first year, I just made it a goal that whatever I started with I wanted to add that much every year,” he said.

In the end it was getting a bit much for him and his family to maintain. He ran a sawmill, people said he should be milling more, but he put his head down and pushed through another year.

“I was hoping that one day that this would grow into something that would be quite substantial, that people could just come up here and this is the year where the food bank approached us and they have helped maintain and grow this to the next step,” he said.

Through Food Banks Canada, Community Connections received funding to hire a gardener and maintain and build a garden throughout the growing season.

“We do get, often, produce from the community gardens and local donations but we wanted to really ramp it up and get lots that could supply us through the whole summer, if not longer,” said Jenna Fraser, community food and outreach coordinator at Community Connections Revelstoke.

The garden is beautiful. Surrounded by an electric fence to keep the wildlife out and supported by a log retaining wall that was donated by the Revelstoke Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation, there is potential for hundreds of pounds of fresh vegetables each week during the prime harvesting season.

Take To Heart Mill, out on Westside Rd. is the perfect location for the garden as well, with maximum sunlight and a near unlimited source of water through a gravity fed system that taps into a stream further up the road.

Everything that the team does on site they do with the future in mind, said Bruce Borlick, garden coordinator. They have rows of blueberries that will produce in 3-5 years and raspberries that are likely to produce a bumper crop next year.

In order to decide what they should plant, Fraser said Community Connections did a survey with their food bank members. With that feedback, seed donations from West Coast seeds and the intention of growing plants that grew easily and produced large amounts of healthy produce in an efficient amount of area, the garden took shape.

There are rows of greens, a large patch of potatoes and corn, peas, tomatoes, broccoli, beans, peppers, brussel sprouts, and a few flowers thrown in to give the tomatoes flavour and keep the bees coming back.

The soil at the garden is a three part mixture. One part donated by Black Diamond, another part from Andy Buchanan and the third part is a compost mix Starling makes that includes sawdust from the mill.

“I’ve just always felt that someday someone would want to run with this vision,” Starling said. “And the people are really starting to show up right now.”

In the future Starling hopes to be able to grow vegetables for the food bank year round, and is in the midst of constructing a greenhouse that will be heated by the burning of wood waste from the mill in the winter.

See the Food Bank Garden for yourself on Aug. 13 between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. during an open house event.


 

@JDoll_Revy
jocelyn.doll@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

(Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review) Keith Starling hosts the Food Bank Garden at Take to Heart Mill north of Revelstoke on Westside Rd. Jenna Fraser coordinates with Starling through Community Connections and Bryce Borlick is the Garden Coordinator for the project. The log used as a retaining wall for the project was donated by the Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation.

Just Posted

Cost to Revelstoke taxpayers as well as developers affected by proposed bylaw

If the tabled Development Cost Charge bylaw is passed sewer user costs will increase dramatically

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past-Aug. 15

Cathy English Revelstoke Museum & Archives Glimpses of the Past - Items… Continue reading

‘Art Alleries’ coming to Revelstoke with funding from the Columbia Basin Trust

Rob Buchanan’s creations will be hung on alleyway walls and lit

Animal rights activists to protest Kelowna’s RibFest launch

Animal rights activists plan on sinking their teeth into an annual event they say is unethical and unhealthy.

No end in sight, smoke is here to stay

There is no anticipated change in weather for the Okanagan-Shuswap this week

Updated: ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

Search for mudslide victim becomes recovery mission

Valerie Morris was swept away by a mudslide on Highway 99 near Cache Creek on August 11.

Snowy Mountain fire now held

The Snowy Mountain fire near Keremeos remains at 13,359 hectares in size

Woman in custody after topless crane climb near Toronto waterfront

Toronto police have apprehend a woman who climbed crane cab near waterfront

A glimpse behind the fire lines

A Keremeos volunteer firefighter talks about what it was like to patrol the Snowy Mountain fire

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

Ontario has seen more than 1,000 forest fires so far this year, compared to 561 in all of 2017.

‘Billion-piece jigsaw puzzle:’ Canadians key to 1st complete map of wheat genome

The paper has 202 authors from 73 research agencies in 20 countries.

70 years after Babe Ruth’s death, fans still flock to grave

After Ruth died of throat cancer at age 53, tens of thousands of fans came to pay respects

Airbnb’s federal budget proposal tells Liberals, ‘we want to be regulated’

Submission says ‘we want to be regulated’ and asks the government to avoid forcing existing rules

Most Read