YWCA's Best Kept Secret
Atop the YWCA Program Centre in Downtown Vancouver, nestled between skyscrapers, our Rooftop Garden thrives. This humble but mighty patch yields 1,500 pounds of fresh produce each year and all of it goes directly toward free YWCA food programs. But the surprises don’t stop there.
For one, the conditions are perfect, apparently, for kiwifruit to flourish – we harvest around 300 pounds each year from a wildly impressive vine. (Side note: if you are or know a kiwi expert, please contact us!)
Another section is dedicated to traditional Indigenous plants: sweetgrass, sage, salal and yarrow. These are used for teaching and in ceremony by Indigenous staff and program participants at YWCA Crabtree Corner Community Centre in the Downtown Eastside.
Crabtree Corner is where all the fruits of labour go. Staff and volunteers at Crabtree’s community kitchen turn the harvest into healthy, nutritious meals for free daily breakfast and hot lunch programs. This dedicated team makes and serves nearly 30,000 meals each year.
Local, organic ingredients like these would be unaffordable for many, especially the berries that Kim, YWCA Garden Coordinator, carefully tends. The raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and blackberry bushes get extra attention because they are a favourite at Crabtree, she says. Of course, the kale, chard, garlic, onions, carrots, herbs, and pollinator plants are equally important, each nourishing in their own way.
The Rooftop Garden reflects the YWCA’s integrated approach to programs and services that meet people where they are at, through a number of pathways.
Donations from generous donors like you help fund gardening and essentials such as soil, equipment and supplies to increase harvests. Donate today to help keep the Rooftop Garden fruitful and thriving.
To learn more or schedule a tour of the garden, contact us. We love showing off this special place and are always looking for ways to help it grow.