Sierra Hartmann (left) and Lindsey Hovey (right) work on building one of the garden boxes used to grow produce for local households and the food bank. (Contributed)

Penticton group growing produce for those in need

Garden box project aims to provide ‘dirt therapy’ and supply Penticton with more fresh produce

Penticton’s Medical Arts Health Research Group has launched a unique project aimed at supplying fresh produce to people in need.

The research group is seeking households without access to a garden, who are in need of fresh produce, and providing them with two small garden beds which can be used to grow fresh vegetables. The group will provide households with supplies and help them build and install the boxes, while also teaching them about gardening. Supplies include lumber, seeds, and soil.

The idea is that one of the 4×4 boxes is used to grow produce for the households, while the other is used to grow produce to be donated to the food bank.

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The project is spearheaded by Sierra Hartman, a summer student with the Medical Arts Health Research Group. Hartman said they have already successfully installed a few boxes, but are actively looking for more participants. Hartman hopes the project can eventually reach 25 households in Penticton.

The 23-year-old recent Trinity Western grad said installing the boxes has been a great experience for both her and the participants. “It’s been super positive. They’ve been really grateful. We’ve had quite a diverse range of people who have been receiving it,” she said. “They’ve been really thankful for the opportunity to grow.”

Hartman hopes participants get more out of the experience than just learning how to grow vegetables.

“Our goal with it was to not only provide more fresh produce to Penticton, but also to provide gardening as sort of a dirt therapy in a way, so people can go outside and connect with nature and bond with their families.”

The project is funded through donations from local companies like Blaze King, Home Hardware, Sandstone Landscaping, Flowers on the Bench and Okanagan Seed Savers.

The project is currently looking for participants, as well as donations of lumber and soil.

Anyone who would like to participate or donate can contact Hartmann through email at

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