The garden food stand is back! With a brand-new growing season on its way, we are excited to announce weekly hours once more. Stop the parking lot by every Saturday between 11am – 2pm for some fresh fruit and vegetables.
“We’ve got tons of greens and peas being harvested right now, radishes, just greens, greens, greens,” says Lisa Munro, our resident grower. “We’ll have tomatoes for June, I’m so excited about summer time! I just planted a whole bunch of different squash. Blueberries are gorgeous, six-foot-tall bushes. We got about 100 pounds last year, I’m still eating them!”
If you’re familiar with our food stand, then you’ve probably met Lisa. She’s the hands behind the produce and we want you to get to know her a little better, and the Young Agrarians Farm Program that brings her here with us.
“I’m not a young agrarian,” she says, laughing. “I was woofing in Holland in the 80s, but I’m young at heart and I can still bend and crouch.”
Bending and crouching is a big part of the job, tending to the beds at the Centre all the way up to harvesting the four fruit trees and epic blueberries. As a lifetime gardener, Lisa was following the Young Agrarians on Facebook when she came across the opportunity to partner with the Centre and share gardening space.
According to Lisa, one of the barriers to farming in BC and Canada is the cost of land, and what the Young Agrarians do is match farmers to land for partnership initiatives. When the Centre began looking for help to maintain the garden on the grounds, the Young Agrarians put them in touch with Lisa.
“It’s a funny story, actually,” says Lisa. “I was walking around Westwood Lake with my husband one evening and when we passed the Centre I said, ‘I wonder if they have a garden.’ Not even three days later I saw the opportunity online and thought, ‘Oh, I guess they do!”
Not only does the food stand helps keep the public connected to the work Lisa’s doing in the background; this partnership in action has enabled the farm-to-table initiative to continue. Some of the produce finds its way from the garden into Bethlehem’s kitchen for guest to be nourished while on retreat.
“It’s nice to make local food available,” says Lisa, of what she enjoys with this unique partnership. “In recent years it seemed the garden was struggling and needed someone knowledgeable to love it, and that someone was me.”
For those interested in volunteering, Lisa welcomes anyone who wants to get their hands dirty. “Yes, absolutely! I love sharing gardening, both the work and the wonder! Plus, the garden is a perfect outdoor space for a social distanced activity.
Please connect with Bethlehem Centre to learn more.