Sharing Farm and partners celebrate Grand Opening of Mary’s Barn
21 June 2016
The grand opening of Mary’s Barn in Richmond’s Terra Nova Rural Park was celebrated Saturday by local dignitaries, the Sharing Farm Society, City of Richmond and friends and family of the late Mary Gazetas. The opening of Mary’s Barn is also a celebration of the continued collaboration and partnership between the City of Richmond and The Sharing Farm Society to provide healthy food for low income families in Richmond, teach new generations of urban farmers, and build community.
Mary’s Barn is named in honour of Mary Gazetas - the inspiration behind and a founding member of The Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project, now The Sharing Farm Society. Recognizing the need for healthy fresh food at the Richmond Food Bank, Gazetas worked to secure a small plot of land to grow vegetables for donation. As a result of her initiative and leadership, The Sharing Farm was established and has gone on to donate over 200,000 pounds of fresh organic vegetables for low-income families in Richmond since its inception.
“Mary’s Barn will be an essential operational hub for agricultural activities at Terra Nova Rural Park and support the important work of The Sharing Farm Society,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “In 2015 over 14,000 pounds of food grown by The Sharing Farm was donated to Richmond residents in need through the Richmond Food Bank and other programs.”
“Mary Gazetas believed that gardens are all about people and community building,” added Mayor Brodie. “She built a big community of people around her, and her vision inspired many to give back and volunteer to support neighbours in need in Richmond. Since her passing in 2012, this legacy lives on The Sharing Farm.”
James Gates, Executive Director, The Sharing Farm said, “We are indebted to the City of Richmond for their commitment to this project. Mary’s Barn will be vital to the farm and will centralize our operations with equipment storage; vegetable washing and packing, cold storage, and space to hang The Sharing Farm’s signature crop – garlic.”
A community-initiated capital project, the 3,500 sq. ft. barn received $323,800 as part of the City’s 2015 capital program. Additional funding for the project was provided through the generous contribution of a $20,000 grant from the Province of British Columbia, $10,000 from Kin’s Farm Market, $15,000 from Rona Richmond and concrete values at $12,000 from Lafarge.
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 neighbours 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.