Egg-citing things are happening at Healthy Harvest

It’s eggs on the menu as the Healthy Harvest Farm rolls into its eighth year of operations.

Healthy Harvest Farm coordinator Charles Thomas sands a hand-made ornament for the farm's Christmas fundraiser.

Healthy Harvest Farm coordinator Charles Thomas sands a hand-made ornament for the farm's Christmas fundraiser.

It’s eggs on the menu as the Healthy Harvest Farm rolls into its eighth year of operations.

“We’re looking to expand into chickens next year,” said coordinator Charles Thomas, who joined the farm earlier this year.

Healthy Harvest, located on Beaver Creek Road, is home to the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Healthy Harvest Horticulture Program.

“It creates employment for people with mental illness and addiction,” said Thomas.

It provides a way back to working life for those who need help getting back on their feet.

“It gives flexible employment so that there’s not set times that you have to come—there’s flexibility in when people can come to work,” said Thomas.

“It’s a supportive environment. People understand where people are coming from and it’s not a high stress environment.”

For some, it’s a step on the road to recovery. For others, it’s a long-term job.

“There are both. Some people have been here since the beginning of the project and others have started this year,” said Thomas.

“They can choose how to use the program. It’s a place to just come and hang out and grow food.”

It’s also a way to get away from everyday stresses.

“It’s beautiful working out there, you feel like you’re out in the country somewhere. It’s just peaceful and your mind can just sit at ease,” said Laurie, who’s been at the farm since the very beginning.

“It’s non-stressful. You just leave all your crap and get away. It’s a lot of fun.”

She’s seen the farm grow tremendously over the seven years she’s been there.

“We’ve been through the ups and downs. I remember when we first put in the greenhouse there were weeds up to just about my waist.”

These days, the farm is bustling.

“We grow a diverse range of veggies—from carrots to beets, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, asparagus,” said Thomas. Next year, if they can get the funding they’ll expand into chickens—but they need help.

The farm operates off of a grant from the Vancouver Foundation, CMHA Port Alberni, Island health revenues from farm stand sales.

When it comes to capital improvements however, the farm needs to fundraise.

“There’s quite a few different projects. One of them is the chickens so building a chicken tractor, building a fence and then just generally setting up the infrastructure for chickens,” Thomas said. “We’re raising money for a rototiller because our current one’s not great. We’re also building a covered wash station and a covered work area.”

They’re also hoping to get the equipment to be able to extend their growing season.

“We’re hoping to get hoop houses which are small green houses that go over the individual rows.”

To that end, they’re running a fundraiser until Christmas Day. As part of the holiday gift campaign, you can buy the farm a gift of $20, $50 or $100 to go towards the purchase of new equipment. Each gift comes with a special holiday greeting card and a handmade ornament.

Gifts can be purchased at Artemis Books or Ozzie’s Cycle or other various locations around town. They are also available in person from CMHA board members. For more information or to purchase a  gift, call Charles Thomas at 250-730-9110.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/alberninews

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

Just Posted

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read