MEET OUR FOOD HUB PARTNERS: OPEN DOOR GROUP GARDENGATE
A chat with Rob Wright
We had a brief chat with Rob Wright, a Program Coordinator at Gardengate and a Kamloops Food Policy Council Board Director. Gardengate is a program operated by the Open Door Group created as a space for “healing and recovery for individuals living with mental health conditions and addictions.”
The Gardengate Facility
Gardengate is currently building a new training centre and commercial kitchen facility to replace a 21 year old, 700ft space that hosts their groundbreaking program. Planning and fundraising for the facility has been in the works for the past 10 years. There have been some delays due to the COVID 19 pandemic but the facility is close to completion. Following all installations, certifications and inspections, the commercial kitchen and training centre will be open to the public.
“Growing food, growing futures. People always associate the Gardengate program with a garden but we always emphasize that for us, it is always people before product. Gardengate is a program first and the garden is a medium and vehicle to drive people there.” – Rob Wright
The intention of creating the facility was to open the door to a community asset and expand on community capacity. This facility expansion will provide employment and food sovereignty within our community. The training centre and commercial kitchen will be a place to cook and eat but most importantly, it will provide the opportunity for current Gardengate clients, food entrepreneurs and the community to learn, grow and develop.
The Kamloops Food Policy Council is partnering with Gardengate by investing in necessary equipment and upgrades needed to build the facility to offer clients, food entrepreneurs and the community the opportunity to co-locate. KFPC and Gardengate will be sharing revenue from renting kitchen space, processing equipment and storage space.
The Opportunities for Gardengate
Partnering with the KFPC provides social interaction and activation for current Gardengate clients. It provides the opportunity for those enrolled in the Gardengate program to learn and observe from food entrepreneurs. Part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gardengate is that any person or food entrepreneur that makes use of the facility will get sensitized on the Gardengate program. There may be the opportunity for clients in the Gardengate program to receive a form of paid employment through the food entrepreneurs. It is a good place for clients to have normal working relationships in a learning environment.