It is 3 quarters the way into January and I am still amazed at where 2011 went so quickly. And as I look back to 2011 my  memories grace me with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and  gratitude for the many relationships, partnerships, learnings, and developments that made the successes happen.

In the midst of our season it seems that all sense of accomplishment becomes buried in the details of organizing, planting, seeding, harvesting, teaching, selling, promoting, managing… all that necessary stuff.

2011 blessed The World In A Garden with Alicia, our young enthusiastic intern (from the YMCA ec0-intern program) who turned into our full time Community Outreach and Urban Agriculture Assistant.  Alicia came to the project to learn about local food, how to grow it and how it fit into the context of a globalized food system. She went from having a ernest desire to learn and get her hands dirty to being an advocate for sustainable food as she learned to grow it and use the garden as a vehicle to connect with community and other urban growers. I watched her advance as she took her passion and wove it into her daily actions that make up her job in the garden, out in the world and behind the desk. Working with her each day and watching her grow with the project was and is a daily inspiration.

Our seasonal duties include but are not limited to early morning market and food bank harvests with volunteers, organizing the successful Seed to Table Workshop Series, hosting community groups, holding volunteer days, planting, seeding and nurturing the garden, providing youth education workshops, volunteer coordination for events and event planning like  A Plan BEE and Growing For Change Harvest Celebration.

In 2011 we built new partnerships and strengthened existing ones as we built a native edible garden with funding from Evergreen and the City of Vancouver. We hosted a Native Blessing with Musqueum leader, Eugene Harry and our community members. We held an Earth Day BBQ with our amazing sponsors, Growing City and Choices Market. Our friends at Project Somos worked with us at the Spring Equinox to put on our second anual Potato Fusion Workshop that was sponsored by Ethical Bean and My Garden Bag. Just when the growing season seemed to be dying down the fall brought a string of events that finished off with Greens Organic Market Pancake Breakfast and Seasonal Tastings in December. In both the summer and winter months you could donate to the garden through Whole Foods Change for Change program at the till. These are only some of the examples of how we are supported by local and ethical businesses that truly believe in the work we do.

At The World In A Garden we are honoured with the presence of those from rich cultures like our Mayan friends from the UBC Mayan Garden, bringing the world to the garden. And we are equally excited to have the opportunity to travel as I went to visit the amazing work of my friends in Guatemala with Project Somos. Alicia started the new year with Global Brigades in Ghana and surrounding countries in West Africa.

It’s been quite a ride and now we are getting ready for an even bigger 2012 with a new site that will include chicken raising, vertical growing, solar power, a vertical wall for food growing and aquaponics. Additionally we will be working a new site at Kerrisdale Annex school with our power partners at Urban Digs Farm. You can also follow us on twitter and facebook as The World In A Garden hits the road again, this time down the coast to California where we will meet, greet and connect with the people who are making good food happen at urban and rural sites.

Last Fall we made it down to Portland and came back with a host of inspiration and ideas.

Like I said, it’s been a ride. Founding The World In A Garden has been an amazing journey that has challenged my perspectives on community, multiculturalism and sustainability  and my role in it as a nutritionist, a food grower and an educator. As I become increasingly aware of the impact of our food choices on the planet it  humbles me back into the question of what “sustainable” really means. I realize that every decision is a new opportunity to make things a little better and I challenge all of us  to think about that next decision, the next moment where we can do things different from before.

I challenge us all to get a little more involved in better food. Maybe get to a local market or stop buying genetically modified, highly subsidized and industrialized food, or just learn what that means!  Start to change your perspective from food as a commodity to food as an investment. An investment in your health, in the planet that feeds you and those that care enough to grow the food for you.

Believe me, it really is the small things that make a big difference as your message ripples into your community and eventually, one day, the world.

As we get ready for our best and biggest year yet, I invite each of you to join us for the ride, get involved and start to make the difference our planet is waiting for.

And may 2012 bring you more of all that is good.

With love, Tricia

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