Ever wonder why Science World has chickens? It’s not because they crossed the road to reach Science World!
The chickens who live in the Ken Spencer Science Park help demonstrate how guests can engage in sustainable food choices. Guests can even learn how to keep their own backyard chickens! Along with our chickens, we also grow fresh fruits and vegetables, as we believe connecting with our food is vital to human health and happiness, and helps foster a deep connection to nature.
Visitors often wonder what we do with all of the produce we grow, or how we use the eggs our chickens lay. The answer is that we donate the food produced in the Science Park to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB)!
The GVFB’s mission is “to create empowering environments that provide and promote access to healthy food, education and training.” Their programs support 27,000 + people every week, with the help of partner organizations such as ourselves.
Once a week in the spring and summer, Science Park staff harvest produce from the gardens, and GVFB staff pick it up. Last year, we harvested 150kgs of produce! Along with vegetables and fruits, we also donate herbs and the eggs that our chickens lay.
Our fresh produce helps support the GVFB’s Community Kitchens program and populations in need of critical food support weekly. Their program creates opportunities for people to learn about food, nutrition, food safety and culinary skills. These kitchens nurture friendships, offer social outlets and provide venues where people can gain skills and experience. They are important for fostering community, and can act as a safe space for many people. The GVFB supports 22 community kitchens in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Even though the Science Park closes over the winter months, staff are still hard at work! In the fall, the Science Park staff begin planning what they will grow next summer. They have to consider many things when choosing which plants to grow. It is important to research companion plants, which help each other grow by providing shade and nutrients, or by repelling insects. Some plants compete with each other because they need the same nutrients from the soil. It’s also important for Science Park staff to remember to choose produce that will be useful for the GVFB.
You’re probably wondering what you can do to help the GVFB too! Here are some easy ways that you can make a difference:
Donate nutritious, healthy food
The GVFB is always looking for quality food. To learn which food items have the biggest nutritional impact, take a look at their most-wanted food items.
Some of these items include canned chicken or turkey, brown rice, canned beans, whole wheat pasta and natural peanut butter. It’s also important to donate to the GVFB all year round, not just during peak holiday seasons.
Volunteers are the heart and soul of the GVFB, so check out their volunteer opportunities online and get involved.
The Science Park staff love collaborating with the GVFB to help make a difference in our local community. It is hard work, but meaningful work. The Science Park staff take great pride in being able to give back to the community that we’re situated in. There is nothing quite like growing produce, from seed to harvest, knowing that it will be donated to people who are in need. Together—with a little help from our chickens—we can help build healthier communities.