Solar power on its way to community gardens

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BY DAVID DENNING

SPECIAL TO THE DRIFTWOOD

Vegetables use solar power to make our food. Soon, gardeners at the Shaw Family Community Gardens in Burgoyne Valley will use solar to help grow and transport the veggies they produce.

That’s the idea behind a new initiative from Salt Spring Community Energy who have partnered with Viridian Energy Co-operative and the Salt Spring Farmland Trust on an innovative plan for sustainable local gardening.

The project to install eight solar panels on the Sun Shelter Gazebo at the gardens was first proposed by Kjell Liem, a founding member of the Community Energy Group and also one of over 70 individuals and families who farm at the site.

“We are very close to having all pieces in the puzzle in place,” said Liem. “The Viridian Energy Co-operative has generously donated both the solar equipment and the labour to install it. The Farmland Trust will manage the vehicle and electric tool charging. Imagine being able to cycle to the gardens, plug in your electric bike and electric tools to charge from solar energy, and then go about the business of creating sustainable, locally grown food. It’s a fantastic way to de-carbonize our food chain.”

The Community Energy Group is now reaching out to members of the Salt Spring community for the final piece of the puzzle.

“We need a little over $2,000 (out of $11,000 total project costs) to complete the EV/bicycling/and electric tool charging portions of the project,” said Liem. “We greatly appreciate contributions that will help make this project a model of sustainable, renewable energy-based food growing.”

Salt Spring Community Energy has been instrumental in local climate action awareness and renewable energy initiatives, including a recent detailed electric school bus study widely referenced around B.C. and the solar scholarship solar array at GISS that has provided sun-generated scholarships for over five years.

Donations can be made by cheque — made out to “Salt Spring Community Energy” and sent to Salt Spring Community Energy, P.O. Box 123, Fulford Harbour, V8K 2P2 or etransfer to the project account. People can phone Kjell Liem for details at 250-538-7855.

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