A government-funded Job Creation Partnership project is implementing a hands-on gardening educational pilot program aimed at improving food security for marginalized, vulnerable people in Vernon.
The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation’s Community and Employer Partnerships fund is providing more than $29,000 for the Food Action Society of the North Okanagan (FASNO) to provide work experience to a participant and develop the Patchwork Gardeners program at Patchwork Farms at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.
The Patchwork Gardeners pilot program will lay the groundwork for FASNO to help marginalized people access nutritious, local organic produce that they helped grow, glean and harvest. That group of people includes street-involved women, adults with mental health issues, young Aboriginal mothers, children and urban youth focused on social justice, refugee and immigrant families, and adults with disabilities.
The project will give its participant, Trai Skulmoski, 30 weeks of work experience in program management, event administration, social media marketing, time management and project planning. She is also promoting the project at community events such as Garden Wellness Day and Volunteer Appreciation Event.
Other cash contributions to the project are from FASNO ($10,586), the Kindale Developmental Association ($15,000) and the Mental Illness Family Support Centre ($15,900).
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation funding is provided through the Job Creation Partnerships stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program, which funds projects that increase employability levels and share labour market information.
Community and Employer Partnerships are featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It also helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom instruction and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.
To date, more than 1,200 job seekers have benefited from work experience and more than 240 projects have been funded throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“This is an important project as it provides someone with work experience, while also designing a program that has the potential to help marginalized people have access to healthy food for years to come. I’m proud that we are able to fund such an important initiative.”
Eric Foster, MLA for Vernon-Monashee –
“I’m excited to see the Food Action Society of the North Okanagan run this program and help someone gain new skills as she works toward employment. The Patchwork Gardeners program has the potential to make a huge, positive impact in our community.”
Juris Vinters, chair, Food Action Society of the North Okanagan –
“Food security is something we think happens only to people who are unemployed or homeless. In fact, employed people make up the majority of food insecure people in BC, according to the just-released household food insecurity report from the Provincial Health Services Authority. FASNO is doubly pleased to be supporting stable job creation and increasing food security by employing someone to teach sustainable farming practices at Patchwork Farms.”
Trai Skulmoski, project participant –
“Patchwork Farms is an amazing environment that reconnects people to the earth. The true rewards have been in working with the gardeners and volunteers themselves. Integrating organic vegetables with the needs of our immediate community has been fulfilling and dynamic. I am grateful to have such a limitless and essential position. Please come up and experience this environment.”
- Local WorkBC Employment Services Centres play a leading role in connecting eligible job seekers to Job Creation Partnerships and Project-Based Labour Market Training opportunities in their communities. Once a connection between the client and a suitable project has been made, the WorkBC centre continues to provide financial support and services to ensure the client’s success.
- In 2016-17, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of British Columbia.
- The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
Who is eligible for Community and Employer Partnerships funding?
- Non-profit organizations
- Crown corporations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- First Nation bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/