CANOVI Farmer Feature: Nurture in Nature

Posted on Tuesday, 5 October 2021 under Stories

Nurture in Nature is a 40-acre farm nestled amongst the mountain landscape in the Pemberton Valley. Kristina Schrage is their community garden coordinator and has been working in the outdoor and environmental education field for 10 years. When the pandemic hit in 2020 she found herself without a job while also finishing a master’s degree in environmental education and communication at Royal Roads University. As food security came to the forefront in local communities she had the idea to start up the community garden project at Nurture in Nature.

“The mission of Nurture in Nature is to connect our community to our food, the environment, and each other. All of us believe that nature creates abundantly more energy than it consumes and our vision is to model this land after these natural systems,” says Schrage.

Their community garden is unlike others. It is a communal space where members come together every season to design the 10,000 square feet available as a holon instead of divided into parts. Using the entire space together allows them to design healthy and diverse habitats that mimic natural landscapes. “By harnessing the regenerative power of nature, we provide habitat for wildlife, nourishment for our souls, and food for our families,” adds Schrage. This past year the garden was tended to by 12 local families and there are plans to expand what the team is offering at the farm in order to reach the broader community.

Schrage took part in the Canadian Organic Vegetable Improvement (CANOVI) program trials this year, planting six of the early season radicchio varieties. She was drawn to the program because of the trials’ scientific approach while using various regional farmers to conduct the research. The desire to aid the community in finding vegetables that will do well in their particular climate to increase local food security was also why Nurture in Nature wanted to participate.

farm crops

Despite the intense heat wave and full-day sun received in the Pemberton Valley, a few of the varieties managed to do quite well. Early Treviso did the best, followed by bel Fiore and Mirabella. This information collected from local farmers in various regions allows communities to select varieties that grow best in their region as well as for breeding projects amidst changing climate conditions.

The team at Nurture in Nature plans to grow their community garden in the coming years, offer more nature-based educational programs, and implement seed saving practices on the farm as well as selling seeds to meet the demand for locally bred seeds.