A guest post by Ella Swan
Greetings fellow adventurers! I have just returned from a two-trip stretch working aboard the Ocean Endeavour. Fjords, whales, engaged travellers—I saw it all. Back home, I have to readjust to reality. There will be no daily wakeup call, no weather report for the day; I will have to cook my own meals. I will also have to go back to work at my other job.
Luckily for me, I have not one but two enviable summer jobs. Here in BC, I work with an organization called Groundswell at their award-winning Community Greenhouse and Permaculture Campus in the Canadian Rockies. I am involved with a bunch of different aspects of the project, including helping to forward a regional curbside composting program, tackling climate change with renewable energy, developing a permaculture garden, and special projects such as a corn trial for Lush Cosmetics. Groundswell aims to push the envelope on all things social development, community building, and environmental sustainability.
What does this look like practically? It looks like school groups of every age getting their hands in the soil and learning how to grow food. It looks like moms and their toddlers at Plant and Play mornings, learning together and bonding over volunteering in the Greenhouse. It looks like people travelling from all over Canada and the world to visit and find out how to make a space like ours in their neighbourhood. It looks like John, a seventy-six-year-old volunteer arriving two days a week at 7AM to dig out paths because he loves to volunteer. It also looks like volunteer appreciation nights gathered round the cob oven eating wood-fired pizza.
We exist because of people power. Since our ground breaking eight years ago, we have relied on donations of materials, time, and money. We have a program that we would love for you to get involved in called Fly it Forward. We have partnered on this program with Adventure Canada. All of their employees, (including me) are a part of it. It is a voluntary carbon offset program for air travel. For every 1000 kilometres flown, you are invited to invest $3.50 into Groundswell. For example, my return flight Cranbrook to St. Johns to join the Ocean Endeavour was 6,916kms. This will mean a $24.20 investment through Fly It Forward!
This year, the focus of Adventure Canada’s Fly it Forward is finishing the outdoor teaching space in the Permaculture Garden. It will be the capstone on the Permaculture Garden and creates a community gathering and teaching space. If you would like to learn more, visit www.groundswellnetwork.ca and register for the Fly it Forward program. When you sign up, let us know you heard about us through Adventure Canada. A healthy community is one where people feel needed, appreciated and necessary. Through our space and our projects we aim to inspire and create stronger communities everywhere and we invite you to join us in this goal.
Ella lives in Invermere, BC and spent part of this summer aboard the Ocean Endeavour as Assistant Cruise Director. Click here to watch a video outlining Fly it Forward.