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Century-old garden gets new life at Royal Roads University

The revitalized garden at Royal Roads University is shown. April 13, 2022 (CTV News) The revitalized garden at Royal Roads University is shown. April 13, 2022 (CTV News)

Royal Roads University (RRU) has opened a new food-producing garden, with plans to use the space for more than just food.

The garden was unveiled on Wednesday as part of the school's "Visions in Bloom" fundraiser, which hopes to raise $250,000 towards revitalizing the garden.

The Colwood, B.C., university says the garden is in the same location where the estate's original owners – the Dunsmuirs – had their kitchen garden, and is near the property's original greenhouse and many fruit trees.

The garden is meant to grow more than just food. It will also be a place of learning for students, focusing on the importance of food security.

"We’re working as a university to address some of the United Nations' sustainable development goals, and a really import goal under those sets of goals is ending world hunger, so again this is a kind of contributing to all of that," said Philip Steenkamp, RRU president and vice chancellor.

"It’s a really important opportunity for us to create what we call a 'living laboratory' where students can learn about these issues," he said, as he finished planting some broccoli and cauliflower alongside Solara Goldwynn, food systems manager of the RRU kitchen garden.

"These kinds of projects are especially important in terms of food security and for people to have a chance to see where food is growing and how it grows," said Goldwynn.

"And to be part of that process is really so important, we all know food prices are going up," she said.

The new garden will reflect both modern and historical times by growing food from around the globe, as well as food that local Indigenous cultures harvest.

"The university appreciates learning from Xwsepsum, Lekwungen, and the surrounding nations and their members, who continue to share their stories about harvesting from the lands and waters," said Asma-na-hi Antoine, RRU’s director of Indigenous Engagement.

"This relationship is important to continue with the kitchen garden project, to honour their stories and revitalize their traditions."

The first bed established for the project is called the "Giving Garden," which will grow food that will be donated to local food banks and community organizations.

More fruit trees will also be planted and an apiary will be built to house bees to help with pollination.

The first harvest from the garden is expect this September.

The estimated cost of revitalizing the garden is $500,000, with the university hoping to raise the total over the next two years. Top Stories

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