Potato House planning new season

Potato House Sustainable Community Society gears up for another season of growth and inspiration with its 2014 AGM coming up Monday.

Marin Patenaude

Special to the Tribune/Advisor

The Potato House Sustainable Community Society had a big year in 2013 and is gearing up for another season of growth and inspiration with its 2014 annual meeting coming up Monday.

Watching the little white and blue trimmed house on the corner of Borland Street and First Avenue transform has caught the attention of the community.

A year ago the quarter acre lot hosted dilapidated fences and sprawling invasive weeds but showed promise of potential. This year the broken fences are gone and the grounds are home to much more than just weeds.

The Potato House Sustainable Community Society is a volunteer group of compassionate citizens with a vision for a sustainable future.

They nurture and inspire a community that reflects on self-sufficiency, environmental impact, artistic expression, and the health and wellbeing of our minds, bodies and the planet.

After months of chasing every funding opportunity available, the Potato House Project hit a home run with the approval of financial support from the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC).

The funding approval was mainly based on the implementation of a community composting project for downtown Williams Lake. To ensure the project’s forward motion, they hired me, the first Potato House staff member and executive director.

With a diverse skill set, I set to work 20 hours a week. With the approval of government subsidy I was working full time after the first six months.

These extra hours allowed for more immediate development. The small alley way that runs beside Caribou Ski Source for Sports and behind The Gecko Tree now hosts a line of pallet compost bins that are being filled up fast by neighbouring businesses and homes.

On any given day you can watch as dedicated compost enthusiasts empty their buckets during lunch breaks, or groups of kids from the local daycares relish in the science of it all, finding fascination in the decomposition of organic material.

The grounds also host a large plot of vivacious soil for organic food production, raised beds for community gardening, native and heritage plant propagation, and urban bee farming.

In the upcoming season, the Potato House society hopes to see even more visible development, including the installation of a new fence, a gazebo area open to be used and enjoyed by everyone, more raised beds, and more established and high-yielding garden spaces.

The project remains land-based for the time being, but this year lends hope to developing and renovating the actual house.

The vision is to create a high profile drop-in centre that provides education and inspiration of concepts regarding self-sufficiency, environmental stewardship and community vitality.

On Monday, Jan. 20 at the Scout Island Nature Centre, the Potato House Sustainable Community Society will be hosting it’s annual general meeting. The invitation extends throughout the community and anyone interested in learning more, getting involved, renewing their membership or becoming a new member is encouraged to attend.

A pot luck, potato-themed dinner for members, starts at 5 p.m.

The dinner will be followed by a brief annual general meeting, then a slide show presentation on my adventure down the Fraser River this summer.

Memberships and community calendars will be available. Membership fees are $20 for singles, $30 for families, and $100 for corporations.