The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust’s new food security facility is nearing completion, and it has gotten a bit of help from a group of young donors.
India, Emerson, Renée and Pasley Hayden made a donation to The Root of $224.35, which they raised in their annual lemonade stand fundraiser. Each year for the last 10 years, the kids raised money through the stand to donate to various island charities and causes. This year, the siblings saw an importance in food as a community builder and as an agent for environmental sustainability, and felt The Root was a worthy cause.
“We thought it was really cool,” said India Hayden. “It’s cool that you can come here and process your produce.”
“You don’t have to buy all of the equipment yourself, you can just come here and do it,” Emerson Hayden added.
The family opens their lemonade stand every year on the July long weekend. They began with the “Kids Making Change” campaign started by Lady Minto in 1999. Their venture started as a simple lemonade stand with just India and Emerson.
“Our stand has evolved,” said Janine Fernandes-Hayden, the kids’ mom. “It used to be a little wagon with a cardboard backdrop, and now we’ve built a little brace around the wagon. We’ve got little flags on it. It’s become a bit more gourmet too.”
“Each year the kids do a bit of research, we talk about it and then decide who we want to donate to. It’s always been important for us to do it locally,” Fernandes-Hayden said.
The Root itself is nearing completion, and as a thank you for their donation, the family was able to get a special sneak peak of the facility. Trust president Patricia Reichert led the kids through the facility, starting with the main floor of the building. That floor will contain the building’s kitchen, as well as a preparation area, walk-in refrigerator and packaging area.
Once complete, The Root will be a state-of-the-art food production facility and completely carbon-neutral. Reichert explained that no sources of emitting energy will be incorporated in the construction. This includes induction cooktops and other high-efficiency appliances. It will also function as a teaching kitchen, with lessons for anyone from people wanting to learn basic food processing skills like knife work to future food industry professionals.
Upstairs at The Root is a two-bedroom apartment that was included to provide housing for any potential staff who needs it at the facility. The property was rezoned to allow for a residence, Reichert explained, and though modest, having a residence in the facility will ensure that another community need is met.
“When possible, a building like this should include housing in our community,” Reichert said. “Even though it’s small and seems like one little thing, those things add up until they’re actually addressing the bigger problem.”
The Farmland Trust continues to look for donations to help with the operation of the facility.
For more on this story, see the September 4, 2019 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.