Several Nanaimo associations focused on local food production, food access and employment are going to lose one of their founding members.
Craig Evans has been part of Nanaimo Foodshare since its establishment 25 years ago, along with Growing Opportunities Farm Community Co-op for almost a decade.
But as he faces a terminal cancer diagnosis, there is a plan to continue the legacy of his work.
On Cline’s farm in Nanaimo, what was once a hay field is producing thousands of kilograms of fruit and vegetables to go in the Good Food Box for those on the margins.
“Most of the food we grow goes to the Nanaimo Food Sharing Association’s good lunch box program and so right now, they’re doing about six to seven hundred boxes a week, and so we try to put as much food in those boxes as we possibly can,” said Evans.
He has been a farmer and a practical teacher as Cyfleoedd Tufu ensures that people with barriers to employment get jobs learning about and growing organic food. He has also started the Nanaimo Community Gardens and the Farmship Growers Cooperative.
“Now that we are doing farms, there is a lot of food available that we provide at less than cost recovery because we can recover some of our costs from market sales in other markets,” said Evans.
In light of his cancer diagnosis last May, this week marks Evans’ last harvest.
“I am extremely grateful that I have had time to reflect on all these summers that I have had, 67 summers of life. It has been quite a privilege and an honour. I’ve never been hit by shrapnel. Never been thrown a gun and learned how to be a shooter,” said Evans.
Paul Manly, Nanaimo city councillor, has been friends with Evans since he was a teenager.
“(He is) an unsung hero in this community and he is leaving us. It’s sad but that’s the cycle of life and here we are at the end of the harvest season and this is Craig’s last season on the farm,” said Manly.
Manly says the Nanaimo Community Living Association has established a fund in Evans’ honor.
“We are working hard to ensure his legacy lives on and his dream of building an inclusive and equitable sustainable food system on Vancouver Island lives on,” he added.
“That’s quite an honor you know what I mean to set up a legacy fund and so I’m overwhelmed by it all,” said Evans.
Evans says he is grateful to have provided food locally with the goal of improving food security on Vancouver Island.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Craig Evans Legacy fund can follow this link, selecting the fund under the “Apply your donation to a fund established by this charity” tab.
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