Students at the University of Victoria were treated to a free pop-up farmers’ market courtesy of the Campus Community Garden (CCG) — an affiliate group of the university. Members of the campus community were invited to stop by the booth outside the McPherson Library to chat with staff or fill paper bags with fresh, free produce.
The CCG staff try to host the free markets about once a month. There are fewer events on campus in the summer as there aren’t as many students on campus, but this is the season when the produce is the most abundant, explained CCG staff member Keely Kergan while packaging potatoes for a happy customer.
“Some people are so surprised that it’s free,” she said.
All the produce at the market was grown by the students in the CCG group, said Kergan. The CCG manages a garden and agricultural space on McKenzie Avenue across from the campus.
The CCG is focused on providing students with the skills to grow their own food sustainably in an effort to combat food insecurity and promote food literacy.
Carley Roller, another staff member, pointed out that the group offers workshops on a variety of gardening-related topics and host drop-in work parties for those who wish to see what the CCG is all about. There is also a wait list of at least six months to rent a plot in the garden, she said.
Roller also mentioned that one of the CCG’s most important goals is to factor decolonization into its gardening practices.
Staff member Riley Yakabuski explained that the CCG events and the garden itself are all on the territories of the Lkwungen and WSÁNÉC peoples. The group has dedicated a plot in the community garden to grow native plants including Camas, said Yakabuski, and the space is actively used by Indigenous students.
The Native Student Union also has a plot and the First People’s house has assisted with native plant care. If others feel called to collaborate or get involved with the CCG, they’re welcome to, said Yakabuski.
“We’re always looking to do more as we know that we work on stolen land.”
The next CCG event, Summer Farewell Garden Potluck, will take place on Aug. 16. For more information about the CCG, visit the website.