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Project Inclusion collaborates to launch the Free To Grow Community Garden

Jun 1, 2021 | Featured, News, Project Inclusion

An Exceptional Garden for Exceptional People

Ben Helpard

Ben Helpard at Free To Grow Farm

This past spring the Comox Valley Child Development Association’s (CVCDA) Project Inclusion program embarked on a new community initiative at Free To Grow Farm in Comox. The group joined forces with the Helpard Family to launch the Free To Grow Community Garden.

The garden provides a hands-on opportunity for members of Project Inclusion while embracing and collaborating with the wider community. It’s been designed to be an accessible and wheelchair-friendly space for people of all capabilities. The garden is intended to be a fun and enjoyable environment for personal growth, friendship, skill learning and much more. “Anybody is welcome to come join in, garden and take advantage of the inclusive learning opportunities the garden provides’ said Wendy Hawksworth, Project Inclusion Coordinator.

Head Gardener, Sophie

Head Gardener, Sophie

The Helpard family converted their unused horse-riding ring to a garden in 2020. “My son Benjamin, who is turning 25 this year became involved with the CVCDA when he was 3 years old.  I am always looking for ways to create opportunities for him and his peers. I would like to see the land used as a place for young adults to gain work experience and life skills” said Christine Helpard. Having also participated on the CVCDA Board of Directors herself; it was a natural fit to work alongside the Project Inclusion team on this initiative.

So far the garden has a green house for all their starts and 14 raised beds to maintain. Participants of the Free To Grow Community Garden typically meet each Wednesday, where they are led by Head Gardener, Sophie. She walks them through all of the stages of planting, growing and of course harvesting. And speaking of harvesting, all of the produce will be available for sale weekly. Follow the Project Inclusion Facebook Page to be sure you see what’s available before it’s sold out. See below all of the produce (and more) you can look forward to throughout the growing season.

Harvest Crops


Bok Choy
Suey Chow

Fresh flowers
AND more…

As the garden begins to earn profits from garden sales, funds will be used to cover the cost of their Head Gardener and potentially honourariums for participants and donations to various groups involved.

There are also many goals and opportunities for the community project moving forward including selling their fresh products at the Comox Valley Farmer’s Market during the harvesting seasons. There has also been some longer-term thought put in to the potential of the garden providing participants a paid internship(s) or other work opportunities. There’s even the possibility for a future profit-sharing model/opportunity that could be available for groups such as Project Inclusion so stay tuned and watch us grow….


For further information or interest in visiting the garden, please contact:

Wendy Hawksworth
Wendy Hawksworth

Project Inclusion Coordinator

Phone: 250-338-4288 ext 241
Cell: 250-897-5758
Email: wendy@cvcda.ca

About Project Inclusion

Project Inclusion is a partnership with the Comox Valley community to guide and support young adults with a disability, increasing their confidence and competence to reach their highest potential and lead fulfilling lives. Learn more about Project Inclusion.

Garden Gallery

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