Agricultural centre finds room to grow

It takes time to grow something good, whether that’s a single plant or an urban agriculture education centre.

Volunteers Whitney Hamm and Valentine Young paint part of the fence surrounding the Penticton Urban Agriculture site off Ellis Avenue.

Volunteers Whitney Hamm and Valentine Young paint part of the fence surrounding the Penticton Urban Agriculture site off Ellis Avenue.

It takes time to grow something good, whether that’s a single plant or an urban agriculture education centre.

According to Eva Durance of the Penticton Urban Agriculture Association, the group’s site at Ellis and Nanaimo in downtown Penticton is well on the way to being the education centre they have dreamed about.

After two years of setbacks in finding an appropriate spot for their centre, PUAA was finally granted use of the former Nanaimo Hall site this spring, with a commercial-use permit granted in June so they could get to work on preparing the site.

The initial goal, according to Durance, is to provide education and instruction to anyone in the community who is interested in learning to grow their own food. Eventually, they plan to have demonstration gardens to be used for people to learn how to garden and compost, as well as demonstration greenhouses and a classroom building.

“I think people are realizing more and more that we have to produce more of our own food and need to support our farmers,” said Durance. “Living in the Okanagan, we are so lucky, there are so many places that can’t produce food to the extent we can here.”

Earlier this month, the site was busy with several church groups who had come down to help clean up the site, which has been in disuse for several years.

“This is giving us a huge boost to get the weeds off and we are putting in compost boxes,” said Durance, indicating the workers who were busy painting fences, pulling weeds and hammering together the compost boxes in one corner. They still need about 80 feet of chain link fencing to secure the site, but once that is done, Durance continued, they will be finished with the site work for this year, and will be concentrating on preparing to offer classes next year.

“We might have some in September, we haven’t quite figured that out. In late winter, early spring we will get a full slate of courses going and we will be doing more membership drives,” she said. They also plan to reconnect with all the groups that had expressed interest in helping, before the PUAA got sidetracked with the fight to find a home for the project.

They would also like to get started on the classroom building next year, said Julius Bloomfield, co-founder of the group.

“If we can get that building up, then we can do courses in any weather. The building will be the priority. Well first, right now, the fence is the priority. We’ve got to find the fencing,” he said, adding that they will also be adding a lot more garden boxes and beds for demonstration purposes.

Another PUAA goal they want to get going next year, said Durance, is putting people who want to garden or farm together with people who have land that they would be happy to have used or leased.

But the group still has one big hurdle to overcome, which is getting charitable status so they can fundraise the money needed to make their dream a reality.

“We haven’t got our charitable status yet, we’re keeping our fingers crossed it will come through this time. They turn down everyone the first time — I don’t know why it is even a question,” she said. “It’s a collaborative effort too, we are working with the DPA.”


Just Posted

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

Jann Arden will embark on Canada-wide tour Spring 2022 with a stop in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre on June 13. (Contributed)
Jann Arden coming to Penticton in 2022

The Jann Arden Live! tour has been rescheduled for 2022

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

The South Okanagan Tim Hortons raised over $4,000 through the three day orange doughnut promotion with 100 per cent of proceeds going to to the Residential School Survivors Society. The owner of these locations matched the amount. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
South Okanagan Tim Hortons raises over $8K for residential school survivors

More than $4,000 worth of doughnuts were purchased over three days

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Most Read