(Richmond, BC) – Mack Foster, owner of Rona Richmond, will present a cheque of $15,000 towards the construction of Mary’s Barn on Tuesday March 29 at noon at The Sharing Farm, 2771 Westminster Hwy, Richmond. As well, Councillor Carol Day will speak on behalf of City of Richmond. All are invited to attend this ceremony. Rona’s contribution is vital to the development of Mary’s Barn, the Barn is key to the farm’s operations including: equipment storage; vegetable washing and packing; cold storage; and space to hang The Sharing Farm’s signature crop – garlic.
James Gates, Executive Director, The Sharing Farm said, “From the very inception, Rona and their employees supported our Barn build, and we are grateful for his support and patience. Without the support from community minded businesses like Rona, Mary’s Barn would never have been built.”
Mack Foster, owner of Rona Building Supplies Richmond said, “From the out set I saw that The Sharing Farm makes a very important contribution to the community and the food bank. I felt that by making our financial commitment to the project early in the planning stage, it would act as a catalyst to encourage the many other contributions to make this project happen.”
In June 2013 an old garage on the property was torn down as a result of age. The garage had served as a storage area for materials, equipment, and supplies and to cure garlic. Since then, the farm used shipping containers, tarps and old sheds for its operations. Mary’s Barn will be an essential operational hub, which will enable The Sharing Farm to deliver its mandate more effectively. On average, year after year, The Sharing Farm donates up to 70% of all food grown to the Richmond Food Bank and community meals programs in the city. In 2015 over 14,000 pounds of food was donated to the local community.
Mary’s Barn is also possible through the support from the City of Richmond and their involvement in the development of this project. As well as the barn, The Sharing Farm is provided with access to land in Terra Nova Rural Park, and support from Parks staff.
As such, The City of Richmond will also be represented at this event, with Councillor Carol Day speaking in regards to the participation of the city’s funding and development of Mary’s Barn. The completion of this project is scheduled for May 31, 2016.
About The Sharing Farm
In 2001, a group of volunteers started the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project (RFTSP) by picking surplus fruit out of people’s gardens to give to the Richmond Food Bank. In 2002 the project became a registered non-profit society and charity with five founding directors. It expanded to growing vegetables on a small scale on donated land. Since then their efforts have expanded significantly. The Sharing Farm now occupies over three and a half acres in the Terra Nova Rural Park.
Entering its 15th year, this community-based farm has grown and distributed over 230,000 pounds of produce to neighbors in need and hosts up to 1,000 volunteers every year. The Sharing Farm educates about sustainability and promotes active volunteerism. Working together we address food security, promote organic practices, educate young farmers and provide meaningful volunteer opportunities for youth, adults and seniors. The Sharing Farm also invites corporate groups to visit the farm for team building activities.
The inspiration behind the name: Mary’s Barn
Mary Gazetas was the inspiration behind and a founding member of The Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project, the original name of The Sharing Farm Society. She recognized the need for healthy fresh food at the Richmond Food Bank. Gazetas worked to secure a small plot of City of Richmond land to grow vegetables for the Food Bank. When Terra Nova Rural Park was created, Gazetas was invited to bring her team to Terra Nova to establish The Sharing Farm. As a result of her initiative and leadership, The Sharing Farm has donated thousands of pounds of fresh organic vegetables for low-income families in Richmond. The vision continues since her passing in 2012.
Mary Gazetas had believed that gardens are all about people and community building. She built a big community of people around her vision and inspired many to give back and volunteer – for neighbors in need in Richmond. This legacy lasts today as The Sharing Farm.
James Gates, Executive Director Phone: 778-984-1403