‘More Peas’ wants to grow

Wants to expand program that teaches people how to raise your own food

Leanne Koehn

Leanne Koehn

Sprouting from their successful pilot project last spring at Hammond and Glenwood elementary schools, organizers of  the “More Peas, Please” are looking to bring the program to other schools in the district.

“Last year we planted about 12 gardens for Hammond and Glenwood elementary school families,” said Richard Farrance, one of the project coordinators.

“This year we’d love to bring the program to other schools, and are looking for parents to be a champion for their kids’ school.”

The program sees volunteers visit local homes to help create free starter gardens for families with young children. Bringing dirt, shovels, watering cans, seeds and plants, volunteers work with both parents and kids to prepare the garden bed and teach the kids how to plant the seeds and care for the garden. Families can join the More Peas, Please community on Facebook to post photos of how their garden is growing and to ask advice if problems arise.

“My favourite part of the project was planting the actual gardens,” says Leanne Koehn, who volunteers as the program champion for Hammond elementary and who came up with the original idea.

“It was great to meet other families in the area and work with them to provide the many benefits of gardening for their kids – caring for the plants, watching and learning how things grow, spending time outside, and eating fresh veggies directly from the garden.”

The program champions will act as the coordinator for it at the school and be given training, tools, supplies, and an orientation.

The starter gardens contain vegetables such as peas, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce and kale, and have been helped this year by seed donations from Candace Gordon of Golden Ears Food Education and Security Table and Renata Triveri of Grow and Gather Farms.

Last year, there were  also seedlings leftover from a plant sale donated by Tanis Green of Green Plant Care.

“The support for More Peas, Please has been great,” said Farrance. “We are happy to offer these starter vegetable gardens to local families free of charge through a grant from Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Services’ Neighbourhood Matching Funds.”

MPP gardens can also be entered in the Maple Ridge agricultural advisory committee’s Front Yard Food Garden contest.

• For more information, to learn more about becoming a More Peas, Please champion for your school, or to have a coordinator visit your school’s PAC to speak more about the program, email Richard Farrance at rjfarrance@gmail.com or phone him at 604-781-4875.