The Sweet Pollen Garden’s primary focus is to provide a gathering space for the sharing of indigenous plant knowledge. The landscape surrounding the built structures will serve as an agricultural garden and apiary, producing a positive feedback loop between the bees and the plants, in which the bees receive the food they need to support their hive, and the plants are pollinated ensuring seeds for the coming year. By the end of the season the hives provide honey that can be processed and sold, while the garden provides a variety of berries and sweet tasting indigenous plants for locals to enjoy.
The main building will offer a kitchen, market hall, and educational room allowing visitors to peek into the hive of a honey bee. In addition, this structure will have a residential quarter providing a home for the on site caretaker. The surrounding garden will offer winding patches of indigenous plants which open up to reveal welcoming gathering spaces. A large pond on the site will ensure the bees have access to drinking water.
The success of the Sweet Pollen Garden will unfold over three stages. Stage one concerns the acquisition of tools and seeds needed to realize the garden and apiary. The Sweet Pollen Garden will form relationships with several partners and actors who will provide funding and support the initial development on the site. A partnership will be formed with Bee BC, who will support the Sweet Pollen Garden through an initial grant of $5,000 (the maximum they offer). Tides Canada will also offer support, as their focus on fostering economic development in small communities, and the development of local sustainable food sources is top priority. At the culmination of this stage of the project, the Sweet Pollen Garden will house a thriving bee colony and fruit producing garden. Members of the local community will be employed, and taught the skills necessary in supporting the health of the hive and the garden.
Stage two will fully realize the potential of the Sweet Pollen Garden in being a self sustaining business. A modestly sized structure will be constructed that will serve as a gathering place for members of the community and a space for processing and selling the plants and honey. This stage of development will also see the bee boxes relocated from the side of the site into a specially designed structure attached to the main building. This phase will be strongly supported by Island Coastal Economic trust who invest in a wide range of economic development and community building initiatives. Builders without Borders will lead the development of the structure, employing local residents and educating them on project management and construction processes. Lumber will be supplied by Western Forest Products.
Following the construction of the structure, an educational component will be introduced to the site. Members of the community will be invited to share their knowledge of indigenous plants and their uses. This structure will also function as a farm market, inviting the public to come and purchase fresh local honey and a selection of berries and sweet plants. Ongoing support will be provided by Bee BC, The Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Indigenous Food Network and Indigenous Tourism BC.