Victory Gardens – Helping People Grow Food

Victory Gardens was launched in 2012, formed by Lisa Giroday, Sam Philips and Sandra Lopuch. They are a Vancouver-based worker co-op with a mandate to “Help You Grow Food” in places where food doesn’t already exist by building gardens in all types of locations, and teach people how to use their gardens to produce bountiful harvests. A one-stop-shop for food-growing infrastructure, education and maintenance, Victory Gardens is out to change the way people source and eat organic, sustainable and hyper-local produce all year round. What inspired you to start Victory Gardens? The three of us have an active interest in growing food and it’s impact on the environment, the local economy and most importantly – families and friends. The inspiration for our name -Victory Gardens- plays off the WWI and WWII era campaigns that encouraged the public to utilize residential space around them for food production. People unified around a common goal to work together as a community to become more self-sustained. A resounding sense of camaraderie prevailed among the people that participated in this movement instilling a sense of pride and contribution towards one’s community. What is one of your favorite things about what you are doing? We are often really inspired by connecting with new clients who fall in love with growing food in their own space. It’s in this experience that we genuinely feel the positive impact in the work we do: Encouraging new patterns of consumption and provoking people to think differently about what’s on their plate. What has been one of the biggest struggles? One of our biggest struggles is managing work/life balance during our busy season! March through June are pretty bananas for us, and we’re all working many hours and often on weekends, so finding space for a life, partner and family can be tough. Can you think of one really rewarding moment? We coach a family on the west-side of Vancouver. This family has one sweet little daughter who never ate vegetables. When we show up now, she’s there waiting, peas in hand, showing off her love of growing and eating veggies! This is exactly why we do what we do and it makes us feel pretty darn good! How would you say people could serve their local and/or global communities better? Quite simply – grow what you eat! Invest in learning about your local food system – take a trip to the market to meet farmers that grow the food you eat. Growing your own food will surprise you in many ways – how you personally connect with the earth, your neighbors and family members, and awareness of the entire food system as a whole. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a community organization or similar business? How much space do we have for this answer?!  To keep it simple: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We have been so fortunate with the mentorship we have received over the years. It has enabled us to make smart decisions, look into the future and maintain momentum during challenging times! If you could have a one-on-one sit down with anyone for a conversation and dinner, who would it be? Why? Probably Ron Finley. He is just SO inspiring! His work has engaged so many people of such varying backgrounds! He advocates for food justice and making gardening “sexy”! What is something exciting we can expect to see from you soon? We just recently launched an educational video series on YouTube. Our first episode is all about planning, and the next four episodes will be released through the year. They are silly, quirky videos meant for the entire family and you can watch them on our website here: What is your favorite fruit or veggie to grow? A great use of it? How do you answer this question?! Favorite veggie? Wow! Well, if we had to pick, it would probably be garlic! It’s super easy and quite quickly and without a lot of space, you can become self-sufficient in your production! Plus, there is NO END to what you can do with it. We probably use garlic in every meal that we prepare! The perfect application though, would have to be simply, to roast it!

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