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Covid-19, Food Insecurity, & A Community Creating Hope

By: F.E.A.S.T. Board Member & Mom, Lisa Burns

“Mom” she whispered when I answered the phone on a mid March afternoon.

“Yes honey, what’s up?” Because the tone in her voice definitely indicated something was indeed ‘UP’.

“Mom, the food-bank just closed because of Covid-19 and I can’t find the food I need.” Her voice was barely audible.

We are a family with a young woman in recovery from an eating disorder that plagued her for almost a decade. ‘She’ is a fiercely independent young woman, she exists on a small disability pension each month, maintains her own living, uses public transport almost exclusively, and lives an hour away from us, her mom and dad. When I heard her words, I jumped into action, drove to several stores and bought the life continuing sustenance she needed and delivered it to her doorstep. Covid-19 fear was high and rising and as a house full of young people, none of them wanted me to risk coming in.

She was relieved and I left with the promise to do the grocery run again, whenever needed!

Driving home, I was filled with an uneasy feeling, a sense of dread really. Would our food security be in jeopardy due to a pandemic? Food insecurity being something we never experienced in our lifetime.

Upon arriving home, I had begun to formulate an plan, one that I had no idea initially how to accomplish so I did what I always do; shared my plan with my hubby and a few close friends. After some logistical planning and an offer of land from an incredibly generous neighbour, on April 23 my hubby and 3 others headed out to find wood for raised beds!

We have created a 20 x 50 foot shared garden root bed, potatoes, carrots and beets. In addition, the ‘boys’ built 20, 4×8 raised boxes that contain pretty much everything you can think of!

We tackled running irrigation to each box and the root bed. Ran electric, solar powered fencing for the first time ever! A few of the ‘ladies’ built the sweetest, I mean scariest, scarecrow! One of the group found a lovely garden bench for us to use to take a rest when needed, or to simply enjoy the view!

We have no illusions that we have solved a growing problem and we are proud that soon, we will have home grown food to share in our community, with our families and as we grow, who knows how many more we will be able to help, in moments when a wee bag of unexpected food makes all the difference?

Our community came together, 7 families so far, over a hope that no one goes hungry and that hope offered so much to so many. We have begun a project that is helping idle hands and lonely hearts come together. In this time of hardship for many, we are so thankful to each and every person who’ve made this a reality. Starting with the donation of land, to the generous saw mill owner who loaded our trucks with enough wood to build all those boxes for far less compensation than he could have asked for, to neighbours who donated soaker hoses, seeds and started veggies to each and every person who stops for a moment to ask “how’s the garden growing?” We appreciate you!



  1. Daryl

    What a hopeful post Lisa! Food insecurity is a real concern for many in our cities and towns, and not least for those with eating disorders and working on recovery. I love the idea of ‘idle hand and lonely hearts’ coming together to create something beautiful and life-sustaining!

  2. MelstevUK

    How amazing that a crisis promoted such a creative and collaborative response in a group of people who have pulled together. Everyone involved must feel that growing food in these raised beds in this landscape is so worthwhile and uplifting.
    Beautiful story and I hope your daughter’s anxiety has subsided, knowing that you are always there to support her.

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