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Have A Rain Day With Earthwise Gardens

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“ Though April showers may come your way, they bring the fl owers that bloom in May.” As it was in the 1921 song April Showers by Al Jolson, so it is today. Rain brings life.

While it’s true many people can’t wait for the sun-soaked rays of summer, the folks down at Earthwise Gardens in Boundary Bay are hoping for rain when Earth Day weekend rolls around this April.

That’s because on Saturday, April 23, Earthwise will be holding its second annual Rain Day event, a family and community oriented celebration of rain and its connection to the Earth.

“Last year we had this incredibly dry summer and it really got people thinking about the sustainability of water supplies,” says Patricia Fleming, executive director of Earthwise. “Many people weren’t able to water their gardens. They hadn’t really planned ahead for that.”

The irony is that the rest of the year, people living in the Lower Mainland can feel as though they live under a veritable deluge of rain. Rain Day aims to “connect the dots” for people so that communities can make choices that help protect and sustain the water supply over the long term.

“Certainly with climate change that’s going to be an issue more and more in people’s minds,” says Patricia, who will be one of those hoping for rain.

Rain Day will feature a “gumboot parade” where people can tour the site in their rain gear, carrying flashy and colourful umbrellas, splashing in every puddle they can find.

Regardless of rain or shine, other activities will include looking for earthworms, exploring the pond for organisms under a magnifying glass, and taking part in art activities that are nature themed.

Later in the summer, Patricia says they’ll hold workshops on how people can learn to conserve water on their own property with rain gardens.These special gardens act as ecosystems by retaining the water that falls in winter instead of using culverts and ditches and fl ushing it into storm sewers.

“That’s something really important that people can do for the long-term sustainability of our water supply because that recharges and purifies the water, it reduces pollution and ultimately it’s really important for salmon and organisms that live in the water and are dependent on it,” says Patricia.

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If you don’t have a garden plot, fear not. Earthwise will be planting another rain garden in the summer to provide a hands-on learning experience for participants.

Patricia says the site also aims to educate on the importance of farming in wildlife conservation and protection. With our busy lives we sometimes get removed from our connection to the Earth, so Earthwise is a place people can come and reexperience that connection, either by wandering through the garden and seeing the flowers and listening to the birds, or by getting down and dirty in the soil itself.

“Suddenly you realize that there’s a connection, that the farm thrives because there’s so much biodiversity around that it’s not separate, the farm is part of nature, too.”

Due to the mild winter, Earthwise’s beloved Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes are starting in mid-April this year, offering eight weeks of locally grown organic produce for just $125. Normally their CSA program starts in June with a 20-week subscription for $500 to receive weekly CSA boxes, with the option to donate that food to families in need.

“That really helps us because that money helps support the programs we deliver,” says Patricia. “And there’s a benefit for people, too, because they’re eating really delicious organic produce.”

For more information about Earthwise Gardens visit earthwisesociety.bc.ca.

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