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Growing Friendships: The janvier Community garden Project

Jessica Lipton
BY Jessica Lipton
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In May of 2017, the Northern Lights Health Foundation funded the Janvier Food Security and Community Garden Project. The project stemmed from ideas shared by community members, followed by a proposal completed by the Alberta Health Services Community Wellness Team.

The project focuses on health and wellness; nutritional education, healthy eating practices, improving community food security through gardening, physical activity and building community capacity. The project is meant to engage community members as agents of change in Janvier.

Children, youth and elders participated in the community garden at the Janvier municipality site during the months of July and August. Summer gardening also took place at the Sekweha Youth Center with many staff and youth participants. Over 50 youth participated in the project, and more than 30 community members, building garden beds and planting vegetables from the ground up! The gardens grew potato, cabbage, cucumber, kale, spinach, peppers, peas and much more!

Janvier’s Sekweha Youth Center and a community leader donated time to transport the project participants twice a week, ensuring everyone had the opportunity to participate in the community garden activities. This was possible because of support received from community organizations such as Janvier Dene Wood Buffalo Association, Sekweha Youth Center and Father Perrin School. Jules Nokohoo from Janvier Dene Wood Buffalo Association said, “Our elders don’t know the school children anymore like they used to. It was wonderful to see the friendships created through the gardening activities, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”

The project’s first year was a great success, resulting in 26 garden beds comprised of fresh vegetables and seven tower gardens placed throughout the community.

Jennifer O’Reilly, from Alberta Health Services, is excited by the growing interest of the project, both from Janvier’s community members and new project funders, such as Pembina Pipeline Corp. Jennifer looks forward to another successful summer of gardening, “Janvier is a beautiful community with many talented children, youth and elders. As the project moves forward, it will focus on the talents and strengths that exist within the community.”


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