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Gardengate hosts Summer Salsa Challenge

August 10, 2016 4:37 P.M.
Celebrating food and community at the 2015 Summer Salsa Challenge.

Let the tomatoes do the talking.

A city tradition tied to the tomato harvest will again tempt taste buds on Friday, Aug. 19 and Gardengate hosts its 13th annual Summer Salsa Challenge.

Participants, volunteers, and staff will be joined by community service providers and Kamloops residents to celebrate another year of hard work and friendship. 

From 12:30-3 p.m., Gardengate welcomes everyone to drop by, sample salsas from community teams and cast their vote for the People’s Choice and Team Spirit awards. The Chef’s Choice will be awarded by local salsa experts.

It’s all about the recipes, not just for the sweet salsa, though.

Gardengate was formed in 1999 to address two issues: food security and opportunities for persons with mental health issues. The farm is managed by Open Door Group in co-operation with the Kamloops Food Policy Council. 

With support from local businesses, volunteers, and Interior Health, the Gardengate site was established in Brocklehurst, and programing began in 2001. Its mission: “Growing food and futures through diverse and supportive programs for persons with disabilities while contributing to the health and wellness of our community.” 

In order to fulfill its mission of contributing to the health of the community, Gardengate donates close to 20,000 lbs. of organic produce to local charities each year.

The 2.8 acre site features rows of organic produce, a greenhouse, orchard, classroom, kitchen and cold storage.  Each morning, Gardengate teems with activity as participants living with mental health issues work alongside staff and community volunteers to tend to the garden’s needs. 

Through these activities participants gain confidence and build their vocational skills.  In 2008, the Accessible Garden was opened, providing opportunities for persons with mobility issues to plant and tend to their own gardens on site. Cooking and horticulture workshops, field trips, organic farming practices and produce and plant sales are just a few components to Gardengate's unique program. 

Gardengate is located at 915 Southill, beside Overlander Extended Care Hospital. 

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