Bruce Bites! Botanical Food Garden Attacks Food Insecurity
A botanical garden...BUT IT'S EDIBLE. Innovative tourism site focusing on issues of local food and food security...READ ON!
Over 3 million Canadians live in food insecure households. This Bruce County (Ontario) based agritourism, and edutourism site has been approved for the rural community of Ripley Ontario on 8 acres of a 23.5 acre site. Ripley’s branding is Homemade-Hands On-a perfect fit for a food garden. The Gardens will entertain visitors through the imaginative and innovative presentation of food plants and teach about natural food production and processes. It will educate visitors on the serious issues of food security that face our population at a regional, community and personal level. It is hoped that visitors implement what they learn at home to become more self sufficient where their family’s and community’s access to food and good nutrition are concerned. **But it requires funding to move forward**
The Garden’s programming is crucial. The food produced can help develop the Good Food Box, Meals on Wheels, School lunch, Nursing Home meals, and Soup Kitchen programs for the young, elderly and physically challenged by assuring fresh, nutritious and healthy foods are readily available.
There will be opportunities for employment where young to old will gain hands on experience in the field of food production. As part of the employment experience, the plan calls for employee and volunteer support through distance online education provided by our province’s post-secondary institutions to help them further their formal education and build their resumes.
Additional programming includes:
•A Showcase for local talent:-artists, musicians, culinary arts
•Gardening, crafting, seedsaving and reskilling workshops
•Soil building workshops and organic insect/weed control
•beneficial insects and pollinators
•Education in food processing (with Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Grey-Bruce Health Unit) how to navigate regulations enabling a food based industry development in the community.
•Strengthen the appeal of locally produced food through strong culinary tourism.-Culinary festivals, chef promotion, and new product promotion
•New cultural activities-garden parties, garden shows, new garden festivals, outdoor filmfests and regional food travelogues,
•Senior activities - a venue for Seniors to share and teach their life experiences in agriculture and sustainable lifestyle.
•Work with youth at risk and adult redirection through work activities
•Special occasions and a Memorial Donation Program.
An important function is business development within the community and the County of Bruce
• To provide a broader visitor experience from the coastal beach-type appeal to include agriculture in a whole new light
• Create new demands for existing businesses to fill and new opportunities for new businesses to move into the area
• Create markets for more area farmers to start diversifying their crops
The Bruce Botanical Food Gardens will draw interest to the community through development of strategic partnerships including
•Public/Private Partnerships –government/public organizations/associations
•Regional Garden groups
•Other tourist opportunities in the region
•Educational systems-elementary, secondary and post secondary institutions.
Every stage of development offers educational opportunities that will be shared with students-surveying, landscape design, on-site construction, alternative energy, horse plowing, urban agricultural and planting offer new experiences to students of all age groups.
Construction: We will divert as many non-degradable materials from area landfills as possible from broken (non-reinforced) concrete for retaining walls to mattress padding for landscape cloth and sculptures of recycled materials for a unique presentation. All excavated materials will remain on site and help form the land from its current use as flat agriculture acreage to an inviting multi-dimensional landscape experience.
Income: Tourist Destination-entrance fees, Food Sales (local restaurants and local food stores, retirement homes, and the general public) Workshops and Seminars, Special Events
We have three phases of construction but phase one can stand alone. It will include the construction of the main access road, garden pathways, garden structures, lighting rough ins, water retention tanks installations, and perimeter plantings and fencing. The total cost of the first phase is approximately $145,000. The first phase construction will be completed during the 2012 construction season. Beds will be ready for 2013 planting.
We hope you will find the same value in this project as those who have provided their letters of support to date (attached). PLEASE- Vote-Bruce Botanical Food Gardens!
(note: The Bruce Botanical Food Gardens is currently applying for Charitable Non-Profit Incorporation)