Residents wanting support with food growing can apply for a free garden consultation through the ACRD’s Grow Local Project. The one-hour consultations will take place April 22 and May 5.

How does your garden grow? Registration opens for free Alberni Valley garden consultations

ACRD’s Grow Local Program offers full 2018 calendar of growing events

Gardening season is around the corner and the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District will launch its 2018 Grow Local Project with two days of free garden consultations, April 22 and May 5.

Grow Local aims to increase food production for ACRD residents through educational information, events and free resources.

“The goal is to promote a healthy and active growing culture in the valley and create awareness around the best growing practices,” says Genevieve Huneault, Food Hub Co-ordinator with the Alberni Valley Transition Town Society.

“We feel there’s a need to support new local growers and what better way than to foster that community than by connecting through food growing?” Huneault says.

In addition to the consultations and variety of coming events, residents can also register for a weekly Grow Local newsletter filled with food-growing tips and resources.

Free garden consultations

Designed for home gardeners keen to expand their food growing, the free, hour-long consultations with agriculture specialist Heather Shobe can cover a variety of issues and questions, such as improving the soil, planting suggestions or mitigating growing challenges.

To apply for the consultations, homeowners must fill out an online application or email by March 20, describing the size of their garden and what areas are most “in need” of a consultation, in addition to what outcomes or solutions they’re hoping for. They should indicate whether they’ve had a consultation in the past and if possible, provide photos, past and current, of the garden.

To qualify, applicants must be available for both April 22 and May 5 consultation dates, have a fairly good understanding of gardening, and be willing to share stories and agree to being filmed, Huneault says.

Free Grow Local events coming up in 2018

March 17 – Seedy Saturday and Presentation at Char’s Landing

April 14 – Workshops on seeding, soil mediums and transplanting at Healthy Harvest Farm

April 22 and May 5 – Backyard Garden Design Consultations with Heather Shobe

May 11 and 12 – Spring Seedling Sale and Edible garden forum at the Echo Centre

May 25 – Workshop: Garden Problems, pest identification and management at Healthy Harvest Farm

June (Date to be determined) – SD 70 Farm Day at Healthy Harvest Farm

Sept. 6 to 9 – Alberni Fall Fair

Sept. 15 – Workshop: Winter gardens, seed saving and composting at Healthy Harvest Farm

Sept. 16 – Family Farm Day/ Edible Garden Tour

To receive gardening tips and stay up to date on Grow Local news and events, register with or follow on Facebook.

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