Community Papers

Blueberry's big event

City of Castlegar support expressed in updated, understandable terms on June 20. Mayor Chernoff presents $10,000 cheque to Blueberry Community School Hub reps (from left) Rebecca McDonnell and Alana Medeiros. - Jim Sinclair
City of Castlegar support expressed in updated, understandable terms on June 20. Mayor Chernoff presents $10,000 cheque to Blueberry Community School Hub reps (from left) Rebecca McDonnell and Alana Medeiros.
— image credit: Jim Sinclair

Last Friday was a big day at the Blueberry Community School Hub, in more ways than one.

For starters there was a field full of kids having all kinds of fun on June 20 so their parents/guardians were having fun, too. There was all kinds of tangible proof of the programs that have been going on at the hub, like the useful greenhouse created with elbow grease and dollars from Telus. There was the cool straw bale garden… 60 bales arranged and already sporting vegetables growing out of them.

It was all part of the facility’s annual community picnic and the weather cooperated nicely. From 3 to 5 p.m. it was mostly kid stuff going on and at 5 the pot-luck and barbecue got into high gear followed by the familiar tones of the blueberry bluegrass players pickin’ in the gym.

The bluegrass folks have shown a lot of appreciation for the premises they enjoy on an ongoing basis. They are  contributors toward the thriving survival of the child-development operation at the southern edge of the City of Castlegar.

The bluegrassers fall into formation along with the Columbia Basin Trust, Teck, School District 20, RDCK Area J, the Union of BC Municipalities, the BC School Trustees Association, and Zellstoff Celgar.

Rebecca McDonnell is the Community Liaison and Environmental Director of the hub and guided a whirlwind mini-tour in the midst of the picnic action, speaking first about the garden

“All the fresh produce will be produced on site for all of our children throughout our summer programming,” declared McDonnell.

As for the kind of savings the green thumbing can influence, she said “we’re more interested in the educational/nutritional component… what we can teach our children and how healthy it can be to produce it. But maybe we’ll keep tallies over the year because it cost about a thousand dollars to put the garden in. Maybe in September we’ll have an idea (of what we’ve saved.) Certainly, snack time (particularly fresh, organic produce) is not cheap for so many children.”

Kids definitely get a grasp of important facets of food production and they have a good time doing it all along the way.

“It’s called seed to plate programming,” McDonnell explained. “They planted the seeds, they’ve watched it grow… they learn so much. And when the children grow their own fruits and vegetables they always want to eat it… there’s no….’I don’t want to eat my peas… etc.’”

McDonnell indicated a related pilot project was done last year and there’s great excitement over this season’s continuation.

Further east on the school grounds is a meadow maze that has been created for the children where they learn about pollination, follow butterflies, and other interesting pursuits that incorporate nature and the outdoors.

It was right around then that the alert was sounded over a special event indoors – the grand ribbon cutting at the newly-outfitted community-style kitchen. Mayor Lawrence Chernoff did the honours while a cheerful all-ages throng filled the kitchen for the occasion. He later handed over a cheque for a sizable amount toward the hub.

The day capped off a two-year fundraising drive for the community operation, while supporter Ed Waywood orchestrated the raising of more than five thousand dollars toward the cause through bottle drives, enabling the purchase of a stove and fridge in the kitchen.

“The bluegrass players fundraised for one of the stoves in there,” reported hub Operations Manager Alana Medeiros over the excited din.

Pictured below: Davin Esovoloff was one of many kids enjoying June 20 Family Fun Fair at Blueberry Creek Community School Hub.

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