The number of resources available to assist Cochranites in applying their green thumbs was evident at the inaugural Community Growing Fair, Apr. 23.
The event attracted hundreds to tour the new Passive Solar Roller mobile greenhouse, attend workshops, visit with exhibitors and vendors, and even exchange seeds through the Cochrane Horticultural Society.
The event was organized by Cultivate Cochrane, a nonprofit society dedicated to growing a resilient and connected community through food, innovation, and lifestyle empowerment centered around a community greenhouse hub.
"It's like a whole network of connected groups and businesses, and so it's been great," says Cultivate Cochrane co-founder Jackie Skrypnek.
Outside the BGC 5th Ave. clubhouse, Cultivate Cochrane established a planting station with free seeds provided by MacKenzie Seeds, topsoil, compostable bags, and coconut fibre planters
Board member Vanessa White was one of the volunteers manning the station and says there were pretty much seeds for anything you could eat and even some for wildflowers.
Carrie Corbin, a director for Cultivate Cochrane, is excited about the groundwork the Passive Solar Roller lays for their ultimate goal of establishing a 4,000 sq. ft. community greenhouse in a central location.
'It's showing we don't have to consume a lot, and use a lot, or degrade the environment to grow and to make the world a better place for all of us."
After the organization was successful in securing funding from the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, they put a call out to the community for help, and immediately got the support they sought.
"It's just wonderful," says Corbin. "This community is really progressive and innovative. People have come out of the woodworks to help with this, and it's really been interesting to see the ideas that were brought together."
She says the design was the result of years of research on passive solar greenhouses and is based upon the work of Rob Avis, of Permaculture.
Bruce Kay is the chief inspiration officer of OnGrowing Works, which constructed it.
He says he established the company in 1998 with the mindset from Day One of looking beyond sustainability and into regenerative projects, including food resilience and food security.
"When Jackie reached out, we were more than happy to help out with an education tool. Education is a big part of what we do at OnGrowing Works. Even the name is supposed to reflect on-growing learning or continual learning."
Now the educational greenhouse on wheels that will be used for programming in the community, starting with the BGC of Cochrane and Area.