In response to a growing interest and need, the College of the Rockies (COTR) Invermere Campus and Groundswell Network Society (formerly Columbia Valley Botanical Gardens and Centre for Sustainable Living) have signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will enhance and further develop programming for horticulture education in our local communities.
COTR and Groundswell have been collaborating on the development and delivery of student and community-based programs since the Community Greenhouse opened in 2009.
These programs are focused on sustainability at a personal to community level and are enjoying strong participation and positive feedback from participants.
Recently the COTR has significantly increased its investment in the Community Greenhouse.
Groundswell and COTR have signed a two-year MOU that will see $88,000 directed at sustainability program development and staffing at the facility.
Doug Clovechok, campus manager of the COTR in Invermere said, “This signifies another partnership for the college in the community. Especially around being green and the whole concept of sustainable living.”
A press release from the COTR explained why this type of project seems to be working well in British Columbia.
“In British Columbia there continues to be an increasing interest in horticultural training on academic and hobby levels. This is likely due to the favorable climate and proximity to some of the most fertile lands in Canada.
“Combined with these factors is the constant growth of the ‘green movement’ whereby people are seeking more sustainable and environmentally focused living and working styles. Community members are more interested in producing local food, designing beautiful landscapes, constructing elegant gardens and learning more about the growth and care for the plants that make our communities attractive, livable and sustainable.”
Program Co-ordinator at the college in Invermere Jessica Fairhart said this greenhouse is already doing great deal for local youth. “Most of the ingredients right now are being used by the chefs program at David Thompson Secondary School. They use them everyday for the lunches at the high school. The benefit is not limited to the high school as many of the elementary and the primary school are also having their students become more involved with the green house and learning about the benefits of the food grown there.”