Sharing Food, Building Community in the Time of COVID-19

An Interview with Sarah Drewery of The Sharing Farm

Summer 2020

Hidden in the Terra Nova neighbourhood of Richmond, The Sharing Farm has been supplying fresh produce to local food banks and educating the public about food security since the 1990s. During their regular growing season, the farm supplies food to 2,000 people a week! In addition to selling produce at the Kwantlen St. Farmers Market in Richmond, the farm also hosts the annual Richmond Garlic Fest, which moved to an online platform in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sharing Farm grows food to feed Richmond families in need. The farm was founded in the late 1990s by Richmondnites Mary Gazetas and her friends. It all began as a fruit gleaning project, where volunteers went and harvested fruit from family properties and farms to donate to the Richmond Food Bank. The group lobbied the City to designate farmland in the Terra Nova neighbourhood to build a community based sharing farm on city-owned land. The farm is accessible by foot via the West Dyke trail at Westminster Highway.

In July 2020, Richmond Food Stories spoke with Sarah Drewery, executive director of The Sharing Farm, to learn about how COVID-19 has impacted their work in supporting food security initiatives in Richmond.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support we have been receiving from our volunteers during COVID. If you came two months ago, you would not recognize the healing garden. This place has always been managed by volunteers, but with social distancing measures now in place, it was left unmanaged and got overgrown with six foot weeds. One of our long-time volunteers Barb took the initiative and organized the “Healing Garden Power Team”, who self-organized by email and took turns coming in individually to clear the weeds.”

— Sarah Drewery, Executive Director, The Sharing Farm

Over the years, the farm evolved from a volunteer-run organization into a non-profit organization. The Farm operates on a small budget, but thanks to the generosity of their over 700 yearly volunteers and the devotion of a small core of part-time staff, it is able to supply fruits and vegetables every year to the Richmond Food Bank and other partner organizations. In 2019 alone, the Sharing Farm donated 26,000 pounds of food to various non-profit organizations.

To learn more about the Richmond Sharing Farm, visit: https://www.sharingfarm.ca/

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