British Columbia Church Helps Remote Community Eat Better

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Imagine the task: take down a 30-foot by 60-foot greenhouse frame, load it all on a truck, transport it over 400 kilometers (250 miles) by highway, ferry, and gravel road to a remote location on the West Coast of Vancouver Island—and then rebuild it.

Nearly completed greenhouse
- Mike Brouwer

This was the job recently taken on by a group of about 20 dedicated volunteers from New Life Christian Reformed Church in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

The crew spent several Saturdays deconstructing the donated greenhouse. Once it was loaded on a trailer, 11 members of the congregation accompanied it to Vancouver Island to help set it up again.

Its destination was Esperanza in Tahsis, a mission that provides housing, counseling, and crisis intervention to locals, many of them First Nations people.

New Life has been partnering with Esperanza since 2004, sending work teams there every summer, explained church member Bob Burkinshaw, who came up with the initial idea. The church also raised the funds needed to pay for the moving costs and the new poly sheeting that covers the greenhouse frame.

Mike Brouwer spearheaded the construction. “It was great to see the excitement of the people at Esperanza that would benefit from this project,” he said.

Growing vegetables locally provides healthier options for both mission staff and guests. Ordinarily, getting from the mission to the supermarket involves a five-hour round trip by boat, logging road, and winding highway. With area rainfall averaging 4,000 millimeters (157 inches) each year, a well-functioning greenhouse is a necessity.

“Hopefully I will make it back there sometime to see the new gardens in the greenhouse and maybe share a nice meal,” said Brouwer, who added that the crew made sure to save some time for fishing after all the hard work was done.

About the Author

Tracey Yan is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes British Columbia North-west and British Columbia South-east.

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