Community
Partnerships

Creating new opportunities through our skills & expertise

The heart of TOPSOIL has always been people and community. We’re proud to be able to provide skills, knowledge and expertise in collaboration with organisations and educational institutes on a wide range of community-enriching programmes.

For more information about community projects or enquiries about collaborations and bespoke projects, email TOPSOIL Director Chris Hildreth at chris@topsoileatlocal.com

LifeCycles

LifeCycles Project Society is a charitable organization improving community health by supporting people in growing, accessing and eating local foods.

www.lifecyclesproject.ca

Growing Schools Program

TOPSOIL supports the development and maintenance of gardens and micro-farms in consultation with LifeCycles and individual school communities.

These school gardens promote social and emotional wellbeing in students and teachers, and can be a source of high quality, nutrient-dense food for the school community.

In partnership with LIFECYCLES, we’re working to grow more nutritious food on school grounds. By locating productive urban farms and gardens on site at schools, we increase access to healthy food, create therapeutic learning environments, and provide training and hands-on experience for the next generation of food systems leaders.

Food from these micro-farms is used in school meal programs, with opportunities for students to participate in experiential learning as they work to harvest and grow nutritious food for their school community.

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Seed the City Youth Program

TOPSOIL also supports the SEED THE CITY program where high school students can gain work experience in gardening and farming, earn credits towards graduation, and become part of the local food movement in their city.

During this 8-week summer program, students build community and transferable skills through growing and selling food that is produced on school grounds and participating in field trips and workshops at local farms. Through this program, students in the Greater Victoria School District are eligible to receive high school course credits.

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“I learned so much from this program. From how to sow seeds, to how to harvest and preserve produce. I was able to make meaningful connections with my peers through our shared passion for what we were learning.”

– Grade 12 ‘Seed the City’ student participant

Songhees Wellness Centre

Located on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen people, this cultural centre hosts events and provides high quality in-house catering.

www.songheesnation.ca

“It’s important to ensure we grow traditional plants and use them to expand our knowledge and create an educational tool to pass on to the next generation”
– Chris McElroy, Songhees Nation Community Recreation Coordinator

Rooftop Food Garden

SONGHEES WELLNESS CENTRE believes in creating a connection between the natural food from the land, the farmers that nourish and harvest it, and ultimately, the people who enjoy it. This is based on the traditions of Lekwungen People and their connection to the land. They demonstrate this by utilizing local seasonal goods and harvesting vegetables and herbs from their rooftop garden.

TOPSOIL implemented and developed the rooftop farm at the Songhees Wellness Centre and help maintain the farm on a weekly basis during the spring and summer. 2021 will be our 4th year partnering with the Songhees Nation.

The herbs and vegetables harvested from the rooftop are given away to the community every Wednesday through their salad bar program and local distribution networks.

The produce is also used by the Songhees Food Truck, and in various events and catering programs.

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The Food Eco District (FED)

FED is a local non-profit organisation creating food-focused communities and ecosystems in Victoria.

www.get-fed.ca

My FED Farms

As an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic TOPSOIL partnered with THE FOOD ECO DISTRICT (FED) to provide 514 free start-up food garden growing kits to local households disproportionately affected by the pandemic through the My FED Farms initiative.

While the supply chain of food to the island has not been impacted by COVID-19, the mass layoffs and increasing food insecurity continues to present tough challenges.

On average, 53% of people in Canada currently live paycheck to paycheck, and especially in Victoria where rents are high many community members are struggling to afford ongoing access to fresh, healthy foods.

TOPSOIL is continuing our partnership with FED to support people during the pandemic by providing free start-up food garden kits, and we’ll be providing another 500 homes with their own food gardens in 2021.

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Street to Sky Program

TOPSOIL also collaborated with FED on the STREET TO SKY PROGRAM, which helps developers, landowners, strata corporations and urban food growers connect and explore the best practices and common risks often associated with urban food lands.

We conducted in-depth interviews with developers, landowners, strata corporations and urban food growers and are currently developing a series of guides to provide people in different industries a deeper understanding and knowledge on these topics.

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South Island Farm Hub

Located on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen people, this cultural centre hosts events and provides high quality in-house catering.

www.sifarmhub.ca

A variety of produce sourced from South Island Farm Hub is sold at TOPSOIL’s popular on-site farmers market

Supporting other local farmers

In March 2020, restaurants closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like TOPSOIL, many other local farmers lost a valuable market, some farmers losing up to 40% of their sales income. Crops already planted had nowhere to go.

With the help of the Rapid Relief Fund, the SOUTH ISLAND FARMHUB was established to distribute the fresh produce to local purchasers.

As TOPSOIL pivoted our model away from restaurants to focus on our on-site market, we realized we had an amazing opportunity to purchase additional produce from the FARMHUB to sell at our market. We could provide our customers with a larger variety of crops while supporting and promoting other local growers.

Get in touch

Phone 250-634-3992

chris@topsoileatlocal.com

TOPSOIL operates in beautiful Victoria, Canada.
For questions or media enquiries, please drop us a line.

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