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How a garden for kids grew into a wellness movement

For Tammy MacMaster, seeing food insecurity was a daily occurrence that moved her to take action. Living in a low-income Fredericton neighbourhood, Tammy was exposed to people dealing with a lot of crime and other challenges that could negatively impact their quality of life and ability to make healthy choices. She was distressed to hear and see that not everybody in her community could afford to purchase healthy foods from the grocery store.

Tammy was always motivated to make a positive difference in her community. She was helping to run a hot lunch program that helped ensure that kids in the neighbourhood could get a good meal at least once a week. Then, she got involved in the New Brunswick Food Security Action Network‘s Community Food Mentoring program.

Since then, Tammy has been a catalyst for change in the community. She helped to start a children’s community garden. Despite never having been a gardener herself, other people got involved and the kids loved the experience of digging in the dirt, seeing food grow, and sampling foods they had never tasted before (the Swiss Chard went over particularly well!) Tammy says that the garden has been a great way to occupy the kids’ time, keeping them out of trouble and engaged in a productive endeavor that improves their food awareness and instills a sense of pride.

Tammy has also been working with a committee in the community to operate a Community Food Smart program (see Jessica’s Story), which sells over 500 bags of fresh, locally-produced fruit and vegetables to families and individuals across the region for just $15 a month, around half of what they would pay at the grocery store. Tammy also volunteers in a number of other initiatives across the Greater Fredericton area and is a well-known Wellness Champion in the region.

Tammy’s story goes to show how just one person’s desire to make a positive difference can motivate entire communities and regions into action. Like the chard in the garden, something small has grown into something quite amazing!


Related websites and resources…

New Brunswick Food Security Action Network

Community Food Mentors Program

Community Garden Best Practices Toolkit

A list of volunteer centres in New Brunswick, to find a volunteering opportunity near you

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