This is the first story in a series that will profile Wehl’s support of initiatives that “spread good” by giving back. Not only do we want to inspire wellness, both online and offline, among ourselves and others but we also want to be ambassadors of good, locally and internationally.
Earlier in 2017, we met with Allan Reesor-McDowell and Kim Lester of MCC to chat about Wehl’s mission. We were interested in partnering with them on a project which would support wellness in a local community. We heard about a need among First Nations communities in Northern Ontario for locally-grown produce to help improve their well-being. For these communities, it’s very difficult to obtain healthy food at a reasonable price. A bag of carrots up north might cost three times what would be paid at a food market in the greater Toronto area. MCC decided to come up with a creative solution, which involved assembling gardening kits to send to these remote communities to help them grow their own healthy food! Each kit would include the following:
- 2 new hand trowels (metal)
- 2 new hand garden forks (metal)
- 1 set of women’s gardening gloves
- 1 set of men’s gardening gloves
- 2 packets of wildflower seeds
- 5 packets of vegetable seed
- 10 pounds of fresh potato seed
We decided to sponsor 50 of these gardening kits, knowing that we would be impacting 50 families in a positive way! These kits were destined for 5 remote First Nations communities, all part of the Windigo First Nations Council. We knew there was a keen interest in these kits, and the kits turned out to be very popular!
In particular, we heard an inspiring story about a 10-year-old girl who was really excited to obtain a garden kit and start her own garden with the assistance of her grandfather. We were told she was so happy about her vegetables growing that she’d sometimes pull them out a bit early, including a few carrots! We were thrilled that curiosity in gardening was causing an inter-generational movement to grow local vegetables.
As the 2017 gardening season was coming to a close, we connected with MCC’s coordinator for this project, Lyndsay Mollins Koene. Lyndsay conveyed some wonderful feedback from Patty Everson, Nurse Manager for the Windigo First Nations Council:
“After years of teaching about gardening here and there in the north to a few interested people, I think we are witnessing a big shift right now. The time has come and your buckets couldn’t have arrived at a better time! Packed with so much love and attention. It was very heart warming to receive them. It’s so great to realize that people are thinking about us way up here in the north. Thanks from all of us!”
Our partnership with MCC was a great success! We are grateful to MCC and its numerous volunteers for the opportunity to collaborate with them and spread some good to First Nations communities in Northern Ontario.