Some Shuswap youth spent the summer growing home gardens to learn about local food sources and for a shot to win $2,000.
At the opening night of the Salmon Arm Fair on Friday, Sept. 8, the top three gardens were chosen from the Project Grow Youth Garden contest that has been running all summer long.
Children aged 9 to 12 were challenged to grow a home garden, and given guidelines to design the most functional, best-producing garden out of all the participants.
Madison Schubert placed first in the contest, followed by Finn Albisser in second place and Jasmine Stiles in third.
An initiative put on by fair organizers, Buckerfield’s, the Shuswap Food Action Society, SASCU, Grow and Change Horticultural Services and the Salmon Arm and Shuswap Agricultural Association (SASLAA), Melanie Bennett of the Food Action Society said the idea was to get younger generations interested in growing local food.
“Some of them built whole garden beds, some tilled the ground, and then they planted the seeds, they did all the work, they watered, they were out there on a daily basis,” said Bennett of the dedication the over 30 participants showed all summer.
“You are all winners and you’ve learned a really valuable skill that’s going to help you throughout your entire lifetime.”
Judges went out to each home garden and took photos, checking each against a criteria list for the contest.
Choosing three finalists was hard, said Bennett, and Jazmyn McMyn of Grow and Change Horticulture Services said she loved watching youth get involved in growing food, knowing where food comes from and seeing entire families get in on the initiative, too.
Children had to create detailed garden plans, noting where each crop would grow and factoring in best-growing practices for different plants.
Every youth gardener received a family pass to the fair, but some bigger prizes were up for grabs for the top three gardeners.
Buckerfield’s provided the supplies and seeds to get the gardens started and offered gift cards, $50, $75 and $150 to the top three.
SASCU and SASLAA topped the prizes off with Registered Education Savings Plan donations, $500 for third, $1,000 for second and $2,000 for the top spot.