Growing Our Futures: Native Plant Horticulture Program
Partners: Royal Roads University (RRU) Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology (Northern and Southern Deliveries), Walter Energy – Western Coal, West Moberley First Nation, Saulteau First Nation, Ktunaxa First Nation, Tsawout First Nation
Locations: Peace Region, East Kootenay, and South Vancouver
Date: 2013 to present
Description: Nursery stock for native plants is increasingly sought after in British Columbia by industrial clients and developers looking to sustainably reclaim degraded lands; despite this, demand exceeds supply. This growing industry provides an incredible opportunity for job diversity and job creation for the environmentally inclined living in resource-based communities. Growing these plants requires creativity, aptitude and skill from growers and nursery workers. In 2013, in partnership with Royal Roads University, industry players, and First Nations communities, KES developed and delivered the Growing Our Futures: Native Plant Horticulture Program.
Growing Our Futures is a portable training program in native plant propagation that is designed to be delivered in partnership with First Nations government or community organizations. The program is delivered in-community in order to reduce barriers and increase community support for students. The program is open to adult learners regardless of their educational or professional background. Program content and length can be tailored to meet the needs of individual communities, and a focus on hands-on, practical learning supports tangible skills development. Employment skills readiness training from Royal Roads Continuing Studies’ Employment Skills Access program is built into the Growing Our Futures program to support graduates in achieving their employment goals or transitioning into further educational opportunities. To date, 26 students have graduated from three Growing Our Futures programs.