Elise Boulanger, Nanaimo Foodshare garden facilitator, is one of several instructors who is guiding participants through online courses that teach sustainable gardening and water conservation methods, as well as how to prepare healthy meals with home-grown food. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Foodshare goes virtual with home-grown food production classes

Online courses teach sustainable gardening, water conservation and meal preparation

Nanaimo Foodshare is offering virtual classes that teach how to grow real food and prepare and eat healthy meals.

The organization, which promotes locally producing healthy food, has launched Foodshare’s Virtual Class Series: Cooking, Gardening and Eating Together.

The classes are free and presented online via Zoom.

“Foodshare’s doing a virtual online series to promote gardening, so there’s Grow Nanaimo classes and there are Nourish Nanaimo classes, which are the cooking ones,” said Elise Boulanger, Nanaimo Foodshare garden facilitator. “It’s to create resilience and be action-based.”

The courses are for all ages, but target school-age students who are learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a learning resource and it’s also a great season and lots of people are getting outside as it is,” Boulanger said.

Participants sign up for the classes online and are facilitated by Foodshare gardening and cooking specialists.

RELATED: Rotary helps Nanaimo Foodshare to keep fruits, veggies fresh

Boulanger said the classes she teaches focus on themes such as sustainable agriculture, plant health and water conservation and include pre-recorded videos that are paused for discussion and activities. For the sustainable agriculture lessons, participants planted zucchinis, created a worm compost and made rain barrels for water conservation.

“Then I’ll just pause it and talk to people and ask questions and build discussion about it,” she said.

The courses started at the beginning of June and will continue for several months.

“They’re really great videos and super educational,” Boulanger said. “I went to school for food security and I know how important it is. People have been more aware of the food banks during COVID times, so enabling people and supporting them to become more self-sufficient and food secure is really awesome and it’s totally possible here because we have an all-year growing climate.”

To learn more about or sign up for Nanaimo Foodshare’s virtual class series, visit https://nanaimofoodshare.ca/foodshare-virtual-classes/.

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