A first-of-its-kind incubator seed farm created with the help of a government-funded Job Creation Partnership officially opened today in Duncan.
The Cowichan Green Community Society (CGCS) received nearly $70,000 to give four people paid work experience to design, build and promote the farm, which will be used by the society as an educational site with plans to also establish a community seed bank.
The Cowichan Incubator Seed Farm sits next to Alexander Elementary school. Its yield of beans, peas and grains will be sold around the community by the CGCS with a goal for the farm to be financially self-sustaining to continue its benefits to the community.
Throughout their 33 weeks in the project, Job Creation Partnership participants took part in the design and construction of the farm as they enhanced their employability skills. That included building fences, raised-plant beds, irrigation systems and outbuildings after researching best practices. They also designed promotional material to engage the community and promote the importance of food security in the Cowichan Valley.
Participants will finish the project in December after two weeks of follow-up support with WorkBC case managers, and will be better equipped to gain meaningful, full-time employment in B.C.’s growing economy.
Government 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 provide support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. They also help 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 1,300 job seekers have benefited from work experience and more than 250 projects have been funded throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“This is a great example of how Job Creation Partnerships can both provide a fantastic asset for a community while also giving residents valuable work experience they can put on their resumes to find their fit in our growing economy. The Cowichan Green Community Society and the Cowichan Valley now have an amazing, socially innovative farm that will be a benefit to the community for years to come.”
Judy Stafford, executive director, Cowichan Green Community Society –
“Cowichan Green Community is thrilled to be partnering with the Province on this important project. We're supporting the participants by providing opportunities to build their skill base helping them gain meaningful employment upon the completion of the project. As well, we are all building a significant community asset that will benefit many people for years to come. This is truly a win-win.”
Paula Masyk, project participant –
“It was very exciting to work on this unique project. Building the seed farm from the ground up was educational in so many ways and it feels good to be a part of creating something that will benefit our community in to the future. I learned crucial skills to save seed that is true and vigorous and made many wonderful connections to like-minded people that I will carry with me after this phase of the project ends. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved.”
- 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 B.C. 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 five components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
- Social 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
Find out more about the Cowichan Incubator Seed Farm: http://cowichangreencommunity.org/project/incubator-seed-farm/
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/