Members of the ?Esdilagh First Nation were out on the land planting potatoes on May 4. (?Esdilagh First Nation photo)

Members of the ?Esdilagh First Nation were out on the land planting potatoes on May 4. (?Esdilagh First Nation photo)

Growing community: ?Esdilagh First Nation plants potatoes for members

Band Councillor Chad Stump encourages everyone to get healthy by planting their own vegetable garden

A First Nations community between Williams Lake and Quesnel has planted potatoes which will nourish on-reserve and off-reserve members.

Members of the ?Esdilagh First Nation (Alexandria) spent most of the day on May 4 planting potatoes in what will be the community’s new garden located in the field before the baseball diamond on the west side.

Band Councillor Chad Stump says this is the fourth year for the garden which was previously located near the Chief Frank Joe Health Centre.

It was moved to be closer to a water source which at this time is currently toted to the garden in pails.

“We’re just branching out now to a different spot in the community so we can grow more and with little effort,” Stump said.

“We had asked the elders and a few of the community members and they thought that would be a good spot, so we’re going to try it.”

With the potatoes now in the ground, Stump said they also plan to plant corn and pumpkins which are hardy plants and will be suitable for the first time growing area.

Once harvested, the vegetables will be sorted and divided up between on-reserve members with any left overs distributed to off-reserve members.

Stump estimated between 15 to 20 pounds of vegetables went out each week last year.

He encourages anyone who is able to, to plant a garden which he said creates character for children who are helping out and gives adults something to do.

“We’re going through COVID-19 and given that social distancing is key right now, we just wanted to get out and get fresh air and exercise, and get back to the land, get back to growing and producing our own food so that way we don’t have to rely on (grocery stores) in town,” he said.

“It’s healthy for everybody and we’re enjoying it.”

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