From Seed to Table project wins the Ed Bowden Community Wellness Award

Pictured left to right: Jayne MacCarthy, Karen Boyles and Marsha Herney

Gardens are growing in Pictou Landing First Nation due in part to a project set up by the Piktukewaq Chapter of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association. Last year, the Piktukewaq Women’s Association received Wellness Funds from the Pictou West and the Central and East Pictou Community Health Boards for a project called From Seed to Table. The funds were used to build raised garden beds in the community and to host a community feast that served vegetables harvested from the gardens. Last month, Karen Boyles from the Piktukewaq Women’s Association accepted the Ed Bowden Community Wellness Award on behalf of the association.  

The Ed Bowden Community Wellness Award was established by the Pictou West and the Central and East Pictou Community Health Boards in 2010, in consultation with the Bowden family, to celebrate the many contributions of the late Ed Bowden. Mr. Bowden was the first chair of the Central and East Pictou Community Health Board and an active participant in the development of the Pictou County Health Authority’s first community health plan. The Ed Bowden Community Wellness Award annually recognizes community groups that reflect strong community spirit, community partnerships and the promotion of supportive environments for health and wellness.

Piktukewaq Women’s Association is the 12th community group to be honoured with the award. The project was a big success as Pictou Landing First Nation now has more than 50 garden beds, explained Boyles. “Many families garden together and learn about how to grow food for our tables and for the community. We are learning what goes into growing a garden, what plants like to be grown together, and how to use the fruits of the harvest in a variety of ways,” she added.

Earlier this month, Karen Boyles and Jayne MacCarthy, co-chairs of the Pictou West Community Health Board, visited Marsha Herney’s garden in Pictou Landing First Nation. Herney highlighted the variety of vegetables she is growing this year, including carrots, turnip, potatoes, beans, cucumber, tomatoes and herbs. Herney said, “I started with one raised bed and now I have two. I enjoy gardening. It helps me relax and gives me time outdoors. And I like having the fresh vegetables at harvest time.”

Jayne MacCarthy shared the ways the association and community members contribute to health in their communities. She said, “Food security is an issue for many families in Pictou County, gardening is an excellent way to provide fresh, healthy food for families. Pictou Landing First Nation is a great example of how people can come together to garden and share the harvest with their community.”

Wellness Funds are provided by Community Health Boards across the province to support projects that focus on promoting health and wellness in local communities. This year’s deadline for Wellness Funds applications is Oct. 14, 2022. Organizations in Pictou County can find information on the Wellness Funds by visiting www.communityhealthboards.ns.ca or by contacting Lynn Langille, Community Health Board Coordinator at lynn.langille2@nshealth.ca.