Campaign 19 was launched by the rare Charitable Research Reserve on April 14, 2020 to fight the impact of COVID-19 on rare’s Springbank Food Bank Gardens. As food banks across our community remain busy and experience shortages, rare is committed to providing the essential service of growing fresh, organic produce for those who need it most.
“The extensive gardens provide fresh, nutritious, quality fruits and vegetables to community members challenged with food security,” says Deb Whissell, a previous rare garden volunteer. During these difficult times, many people are experiencing physical and economic barriers to accessing sufficient foods to lead a healthy life. Regular donations to our local food banks are essential for our community to stand strong together and to keep people’s well-being intact.
In less than a month, over $4,400 has been raised towards rare’s Campaign 19 and the Springbank Food Bank Gardens. Toyota Canada generously stepped forward as a leader of the campaign by pledging $2,500 and encouraging the community to match their gift during the month of April. Many of these generous gifts were made on May 5, 2020 for #GivingTuesdayNow, the global day of giving and unity declared as an emergency response to COVID-19. Every donation builds community resilience through the power of locally grown food.
Founded in 2001, rare is a land trust and environmental institute that is here for the long term. What is grown this year and the way it is grown might be different as the organization and the community adjusts to a new normal, but rare will grow and donate hardy vegetables such as kale, peppers, tomatoes, melons and more, and will be sharing seeds.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, while many organizations instantly laid off staff, the rare team has continued their work and adjusted quickly to the new normal of working from home through online meetings and by establishing special protocols to ensure essential environmental research and monitoring work can continue safely. “We are grateful for the support received, and we continue to rely on our supporters to help us live through this unprecedented crisis. This year is not much different from other years in that our work truly never stops — we still need to grow food, rescue turtles, and preserve lands”, says Executive Director Stephanie Sobek-Swant. “The latter is probably now more important than ever. The crisis has shown us that we need to keep organisms in their natural habitats – if we increasingly shrink habitat and displace species from their spaces, we open further possibilities for disease to spread. Let’s make sure we keep habitats intact the viruses in the woods.”
As a special act of pandemic seed sharing, all donors to Campaign 19 will receive provider bean seeds in the mail for their generosity. To learn more about Campaign 19 and to donate, visit raresites.org.