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Coquitlam school district receiving more than $28K in B.C. funding for Indigenous healing program

Food security project aimed to empower traumatized youth, steer away from criminal activity
Vegetable garden youth food growing - Getty Images
Youth holding vegetables while standing in a garden.

Helping hands make for healing hearts.

A phrase that may resonate with a Tri-Cities gardening initiative set to help youth and their families recover mentally and emotionally following experiences with criminal activity and gang violence.

On May 8, the province unveiled its 221 recipients of this year’s Civil Forfeiture Crime Prevention and Remediation grant program, handing out more than $8.6 million to non-profits, local governments and school districts.

Part of the funding’s goal is to help traumatized Indigenous families heal and Coquitlam’s school district (SD43) is the only Tri-City area organization getting money from the grant program for that very purpose.

Through its Indigenous Education department, $28,500 is earmarked for the ‘Food Security at the Earth Spirit Healing Forest and Medicine Garden Good Food For All’ initiative.

It’s set to empower 1,000 Indigenous youth by growing food and medicine plants in gardens across Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.

According to the program’s description, the basis of the ‘Good Food For All’ project is four-fold:

  • Providing a summer program to support 20 vulnerable youth in learning to grow, prepare, and share 
  • Starting an elder-in-residence program... 
    • To root learning in tradition 
    • Grow salmon with 100 students in the classroom 
    • Introduction to Kwikwetlem First Nation Land 
  • Growing good food for our school community 
  • Sharing indigenous ways of knowing and being 

“Over the past 15 years, most civil forfeiture cases have been related to drug, gang and organized crime,” says B.C. Public Safety Minister, Solicitor General and MLA for Port Coquitlam Mike Farnworth in a statement.

“In turn, it’s appropriate that once again, some of the proceeds are going into gang prevention. These annual grants support life-changing and even life-saving work through supporting the prevention of gang involvement and of gender-based violence and violence against women.”

In addition, there are 33 province-wide projects listed for Civil Forfeiture Crime Prevention and Remediation grants for 2020-21.

You can view the full list of recipients through B.C.’s Public Safety Ministry page.

It further states, “The Civil Forfeiture Office continues to undermine the profit motive behind criminal activity by taking away tools and proceeds of crime and putting them back into programs that support community safety and crime prevention.”