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NEWS RELEASE · 11th June 2010
M. of Healthy Living & Sport
B.C. is helping to provide First Nations communities with better access to fresh vegetables by funding 17 food gardens in the most remote communities, said Ida Chong, Minister of Healthy Living and Sport.

"Eating fruits and vegetables often is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle," said Chong. "Through the First Nations food garden grants, we're helping communities to best manage their health by educating and enabling them to grow a sustainable food garden that will regularly provide fresh vegetables and fruits grown right in their own backyard."

The First Nations food garden grants build on and are part of the Province's Produce Availability in Remote Communities Initiative announced in November 2009, with the goal of helping remote communities gain better access to high quality fruits and vegetables, and support the goals of the Province's healthy living program, ActNow BC.

First Nations community leaders will guide the development of the gardens, supported by an agrologist and $200,000 in funding from government to the Aboriginal Agricultural Education Society of British Columbia. Plans to develop the gardens will begin as soon as possible within each community.

"New food gardens for First Nations communities not only provide better access to local, fresh and healthy foods, but they also build community spirit among those people involved in growing the garden," said George Abbott, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

Communities that developed a comprehensive plan for their food garden were given priority and larger funding allocations were awarded to communities in the most remote areas of the province.

"A community garden will provide the much needed natural healthy local food and an opportunity for people to connect with each other and to the land," said Chief Harold Aljam, President of the First Nations Agricultural Association. "The Aboriginal Agricultural Education Society of British Columbia is excited to support First Nations communities as they develop new food gardens that will provide fresh foods for healthier communities."

The Aboriginal Agricultural Education Society of British Columbia, now in its fifth year, has supported First Nations community gardening initiatives through the First Nations Community Food Systems for Healthy Living project.

In addition to the First Nations food garden grants, several other remote B.C. communities are involved in the Produce Availability in Remote Communities Initiative, including Bella Coola, Zeballos, Tahsis, Masset, Port Clement, Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek.