Sharing the harvest

Ashlee Sales starts program linking local, idle gardens with farmers

Ashlee Sales shows off a plethora of beany produce. She hopes to help make local agricultural produce more available with her program.

Ashlee Sales shows off a plethora of beany produce. She hopes to help make local agricultural produce more available with her program.

There are some Oceanside residents of a certain age who find they are just no longer able to take care of the fruit trees and vegetable gardens they once loved so well.

That’s a problem Ashlee Sales and her Oceanside Foodshare program would like to help fix.

Sales was set up at the Qualicum Beach Farmers Market Saturday, promoting her new program, which she hopes will also provide a significant boost to both the food bank and the community dinners put on weekly by St. Stephen’s United Church.

The program, she said, involves a mission to increase access to local food by providing a network for sharing land, fruit trees and excess produce harvested from local gardens and farms.

“We are starting a network to connect people with fruit trees or old gardens they can’t look after anymore with people who can come and utilize that space and donate some of the produce to the food bank and St. Stephen’s community meals,” Sales said. “This is important to strengthen the local food economy and get some fresh produce available to everyone in the community.”

Under the garden share portion of the program, she is looking to connect people with garden space they can’t use with people looking for land to garden. As well, the fruit share program involves finding people with fruit trees that need to be picked and getting them in contact with people willing to do the work.

Sales said she has already gleaned a small band of volunteers who plan to harvest what local gardeners and farmers make available and to staff promotional tables at the farmers market.

“We are still looking for people to help,” she said. 

For more information or to get involved, visit info@goodnaturefarms.com.

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