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Calgary newcomers find community garden, learn Indigenous ways at Land of Dreams farm

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A unique farm in southeast Calgary that offers newcomers a chance to connect with, and learn from, Indigenous communities, launches its growing season Saturday morning.

Sponsored by the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS),The Land of Dreams farm on 84 Street S.E. provides space for newcomers who have resettled to have greater access to healthy food, lifestyle, and environment through the cultivation of a community garden.

The farm has been recognized as a ‘Promising Practice’ by Pathways to Prosperity (P2P, a national alliance dedicated to providing an actionable evidence base for immigrant settlement and integration policies and programs in Canada.

The Saturday kickoff event, which started at 10 a.m., featured a potluck lunch, music and dance, at 6525-84 Street S.E.

"We’re putting up a tipi today. We have the Elder Herman and volunteers from Land of Dreams," said farm manager Sue Heatherington.  "We have people from Nepal, Congo, Punjabi folks – we have a diverse amount of immigrants who each come in, folks from Europe, from Africa, from South America, from Mexico.

Heatherington said the shared farm -- individuals each receive their own plot -- creates a mutual bond that transcends cultural boundaries.

"It includes them," she says. "It gives them a community, gives them an opportunity to be themselves and teach us what they did in their country to sustain themselves."

With files from Tyler Barrow

Land of Dreams farm launch, 2023. The farm launches its 2024 growing season Saturday at 10 a.m. (Photo courtesy CCIS)

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