This summer, a group of volunteers built 61 sets of free garden boxes for homes throughout the Penticton area. Next year, they hope to double this number.

The team of summer students operate the CoVic Garden Box Project, organized by Penticton’s Medical Arts Health Research Group (MAHRG). The project’s underlying goal is to support local food security, grow produce for Penticton’s Salvation Army Food Bank, and provide “dirt therapy” opportunities for residents.

Two free boxes, including soil and seeds, are provided to homeowners. The household is responsible for maintaining the gardens and the produce grown is shared between the home and the Food Bank.

Penticton City Council is now considering a request to support the program’s expansion in 2021.

Fundraiser calendar features local artists

Meanwhile, eight local artists took part in a recent fundraising event to help expand the project.

The artists painted pictures at the Salvation Army Community Garden, which has been operating for seven years as an educational space or individuals to learn about gardening and grow produce for the Food Bank.

The calendar will feature art from Angie McIntosh, Bonny Billups, Gail Kalmar, Robyn Lake, Allen Berendin, Derrie Selles, Carolyn Sherman and Michael Sime, as well as photography by Melissa Hartmann, who photographed the event.

Stay tuned for updates about the calendar by following the Facebook page, The Healthy Gardener, or the Health Research Group’s website.

Take part in a photo contest

The group has also announced a photo contest, which will be live until Sept. 15. Submit your photos of your edible plants on your home or business property for a chance to win a prize package. All details can be found on their website.

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