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New Victoria community garden grows food security, orca awareness

Ground being broken on Vic West allotment on Saturday (April 2) at noon
The Canadian Orca Rescue Society, founded in 2016 to help create positive change, announced its new community garden project at Bay and Alston streets in Vic West. (Courtesy of CORS)

A triangular green space turned garden at the corner of Bay and Alston streets aims to promote local food security and raise awareness of Southern resident orcas and the Salish Sea ecosystem.

The Canadian Orca Rescue Society (CORS) will break ground on its new Orca Community Garden at the Vic West site on Saturday (April 2) at noon.

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Victoria council allowed the society to develop allotment beds, food trees and commons areas planted with food, native and pollinator plants. The society hopes to generate interest from the community for the project.

“If you are one of those people who wants a plot to cultivate yourself, then this would be the time to show up and get your name on one,” society co-founder Eric Pittman said in a statement.

Education and public awareness are pillars of the group’s work. The new garden offers an outdoor classroom to not only teach students about sustainable agriculture, but to encourage them to find solutions and take action to tackle the threats to the Salish Sea.

“Our principal focus is on education of young people and reminding people that we have a responsibility to the future and what kind of world we will leave them,” CORS co-founder, Gregg McElroy said.

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McElroy and Pittman founded the society in 2016 to help create positive change. They began by protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion over the impact it will have on wildlife. The organization also hosts clean-ups of local beaches with students and volunteers, advocates for more environmentally-friendly packaging and champions eco-awareness in the community.

“Orca Community Garden is a place where folks can get their hands dirty while learning about the nearby Salish Sea and its endangered species, and how we can help them survive by treating the land better,” Pittman said.

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