Oliver Berger sorts through potatoes on Oct. 26 after they had dried and were ready to be placed in the root cellar for storage.

Oliver Berger sorts through potatoes on Oct. 26 after they had dried and were ready to be placed in the root cellar for storage.

One potato, two potato, three potato, more

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society gathers 4,000 pounds of potatoes.

A few less people in Williams Lake will go hungry this winter thanks to efforts by the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.

The Greening Project is a three-year-old-endeavour that sees the society partnering with local farms at the end of the harvest season to collect fruits and veggies they could not sell or that were leftover.

“Our mandate is to reduce food waste,” said co-ordinator and sustainable life educator Vanessa Moberg. “Whatever is leftover, we’ll take it.”

And by using vegetables that haven’t made it to the shelves, they are doing just that.

For the third year they partnered with Earl Wilson at Silver Birch Farm in Soda Creek to collect a few rows of untouched potatoes. Eight people and one child armed with hoes and picks took to the fields on Oct. 20 to hand-pick approximately 4,000 pounds of potatoes.

Wilson went through first with a tine plow to turn the rows over and eager members of the conservation society went through to harvest and haul the spuds to a trailer for transportation to the Potato House.

“Just to get out of the office for a day and get my hands in the dirt, it was a really cathartic experience for me personally,” noted Moberg. She adds that it was a really great day to get some fresh air.

And last week at the Potato House, other members of the society could be seen enjoying the fresh air as well.

Chief green officer Oliver Berger and president of the society Bill Lloyd spent a day on the front lawn of the Potato House prepping the potatoes for the cellar. They sorted and dried them before boxing them up and loading them down into the basement.

A couple of years ago, the conservation society decided they would rent out a space in the Potato House and built a community root cellar. And it is certainly a community endeavour in more than one sense.

According to Moberg, the cellar was constructed using 100 per cent donated materials and volunteer labour. The cellar houses the society’s yearly produce haul. Although this year they harvested only from Silver Birch Farm, in the past they’ve partnered with Ross McCoubrey from Rose Lake and Brianna van de Wijngaard of Puddle Produce.

In their first year, they collected carrots, beets, potatoes, and squash. In the second year, carrots and potatoes. This year, potatoes.

Moberg noted that the whole point of the project is to take whatever leftovers people are willing to give and they are always looking for more volunteers for next year.

Once the food is in the cellar, what happens next?

The cellar proves its true community roots once again as organizations from around Williams Lake can call the society and come to pick up some produce for their members.

Barbara Jones is the program co-ordinator at the Pregnancy Outreach Program in the lakecity, an organization that has benefitted from the Greening Project in the past.

“For the families that use our program, we also have a food bank of non-perishable items that are all donated from the community so when we go to the Potato House and get carrots and potatoes, we’re able to get fresh vegetables to add to our non-perishables to give out to the families, which is really nice,” Jones said.

Being able to add some fresh produce to canned and boxed goods is no doubt a welcome and nutritious addition for families who make use of the food bank. Jones added that their program receives generous donations from different groups from all over the city and that the outreach program makes sure their members know that some of their food is donated by the local community.

Sometimes, they’ll even also show interested members different ways to creatively cook the fresh donations. Jones used the example of getting a large donation of apples and having a class on making apple crisp, just to give people new and creative ideas for the kitchen.

Community ventures like the Greening Project are bringing real and visible benefits to families in need in Williams lake and according to Moberg, “it’s a win, win because we’re reducing food waste but also helping people who can’t afford fresh produce.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Oliver Berger (left) and Rodger Hamilton got their hands dirty on Oct. 20 while harvesting potatoes tat Silver Birch Farm.

Oliver Berger (left) and Rodger Hamilton got their hands dirty on Oct. 20 while harvesting potatoes tat Silver Birch Farm.

Approximately 4,000 pounds of leftover potatoes were harvested from Silver Birch Farm on Oct. 20.

Approximately 4,000 pounds of leftover potatoes were harvested from Silver Birch Farm on Oct. 20.

Just Posted

Lil Mack has been a member of Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy since its inception. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Lil Mack of Williams Lake honoured with BC Achievement Community Award

Mack has been an ever-present, quietly powerful literacy force in Williams Lake for several decades

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) announced Tuesday, May 11 that all washrooms on its Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses will have free menstrual products by September. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
TRU to provide free hygiene products in all washrooms by fall 2021

“By signing the United Way’s Promise campaign, TRU aims to reduce barriers facing some students.”

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

(File photo)
High-visibility arrest in Williams Lake nets BB gun, mistaken for assault rifle

RCMP thought the man was carrying an M16 assault-style rifle

letters
LETTER: Improvements needed at Scout Island

The City can do better managing their responsibilities

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A map of Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
B.C. First Nations restrict access to territory in wake of forestry standoffs

Huu-ay-aht set up checkpoints after heated and dangerous incidents on southwest Vancouver Island

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read