The following blog post was written by Kelty Christensen, Learner Engagement Officer at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.
The ICan Crew is an Intercultural Centre initiative that engages learners in volunteering both on campus and in the larger Calgary community.
At the end of March, the ICan Crew volunteered at Grow Calgary, North America’s largest urban farm at over 11 acres. On this day, we expected to be planting as part of Grow Calgary’s Early Germination program. However, with a workforce of 23 learners we were put to work prepping the farm for the season. We cleared blown garbage out of the fields, cleaned out greenhouses, laid tarps to kill weeds, cut burlap sacks, relocated tires and rocks, and hauled water from a nearby creek for watering. Needless to say, volunteers were all dirty and exhausted, but felt exhilarated by the end of the day!
When asked about her experience, a member of the ICan Crew commented, “It was really good! It was cold. It was hard work. We had a lot of fun and helped the community at the same time.”
The day that the ICan Crew volunteered marked the launch of Grow Calgary's “Mowers to Growers” campaign. Grow Calgary is requesting that the City reallocate 1% of the budget used for lawn and green space mowing to compassionate food farming. Grow Calgary’s produce goes to the Calgary Food Bank. As a result of this, CBC news arrived while we were on site and took some footage of the ICan Crew working. Not only did learners feel good about the work they had done, they also felt like celebrities for a day!