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Crowdsourcing For the DTES

A friend of mine asked me to help her with a project she’s doing for the DTES. She is a Strathcona resident, an entrepreneur and a budding agent of social change. She needs help. I’ve helped a bit and am asking for readers of this blog to also pitch in. It’s easy. It’s worthwhile. It will employ under-employed people in the DTES who need a hand up more than a hand out. It will help schoolchildren learn about food and where it comes from. And it will give you a chance to help. Read her pitch, go to the site, and give her some money.

As you know, I have just launched a new social enterprise and I am looking to get the word out and rally as many supporters as possible. If you could pass this along to some of your contacts, friends or family who might be interested I would greatly appreciate it.

Having been very involved in various community groups in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside over the past decade, I have become acutely aware of the difficulties people face in this area. As well I have huge concerns about how society tends to dish out handouts which, while they may help in the short term, can ultimately create more dependancy. As a mother of four, I am especially sensitive about how these issues effect children in the DTES.

During a long distance conversation with a childhood friend I had an epiphany. The next day I started researching seed suppliers and Strathcona 1890 and the Urban Seed Project were founded. Sales of these unique collections of seeds will help create new jobs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as well as help develop sustainable food growing programs at Vancouver’s inner city schools, daycares and community centres.

I created three seed collections to appeal to people who live with very limited outdoor spaces. These seeds are selected for container planting to help promote local food sustainability with a focus on downtown, where space is at a premium. All the seeds come from top suppliers with a proven history of quality. They are all non-GMO, open pollinated, and the Urban Salad Collection and Urban Salad Sampler are comprised entirely of heirloom seeds. I hope you will join me in helping promote food sustainability for all by buying a collection when I launch my campaign on on Tuesday, April 17.

I have already signed on with one elementary school, two daycares and two community centres in Vancouver’s DTES. This is not a one time project – my dream is that we will one day be able to expand to other cities.

I have included photos so you have a preview of the seed collections. As well I included a couple shots of the area where we are trying to create positive change. This whole initiative is about changing how we deal with the issues in the DTES. It is about offering people a hand up instead of a hand out.

These collections make great hostess and housewarming gifts. They could also be a nice change for Mother’s Day (you could pair up the herbs with a window pot or create a mother & child activity gift with the Kids Starter Seeds which are super easy to grow and include step by step directions for planting as well as activities and uses). I will have some essential herbs and vegetables (like Genovese Basil and Yellow Pear Tomatoes) while some of the seeds I have sourced are really unique such as Red Malabar Climbing Spinach which is not only edible but makes for a great privacy screen on a balcony or patio.

I could go on and on about this project but I will stop here. Again if you, or anyone you know, would be interested in supporting this effort, please click on the link to access more about the Strathona 1890 Urban Seed Project.

Many thanks!

Judy Kenzie

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