Labelled by Royal Roads as “A Vision in Bloom,” the university in Colwood has been re-imagining how to use over five acres of farmable property to benefit students, faculty and the community.
The garden, also known as “The Farm,” will continue to provide its bounty to the community thanks to a large donation of $196,000 from the TD Canada Trust Ready Commitment program.
“With support from TD, our efforts to address food security, climate adaptation and reconciliation on The Farm will help us transform the space and become home to an expanded, diverse, community-based resource in the years to come,” says Royal Roads President Philip Steenkamp.
The university, including faculty, students and Indigenous leaders, grew enough to donate 1,000 pounds of produce to local food banks last year. Some places the garden contributed to last year include Our Place, Iyé Creative and a free fridge program on Rock Bay Road in Victoria.
One of the new additions to the project will be an Indigenous garden. Many Indigenous knowledge keepers like Siilnahumut, who has been working with Royal Roads since 2000, will be a part of its creation.
“In our First Nations teachings, all of the native species of plants are plants that evolved to be here over the millennia. Everything was important to the First Nation communities, either as foods, tools or medicines,” says Siilnahumut.
Beside the Indigenous Gardens, the five-year project includes the construction of a polycultural garden, which is planting two or more crops in the same field at the same time, and a Market Garden that will supply the campus café with fresh produce. These additions will complement the abundant living garden, which already provides good food to the community.
The project is scheduled for completion sometime in 2025.