Cline Agri-Health Centre
In November 2018 Growing Opportunities had an opportunity to cultivate land on a property recently purchased by Dr. John Cline and his wife Joy. The 47-acre parcel was one of the oldest farms in Nanaimo, first established in 1864 as the Westwood Dairy farm.
The farm is home to VI Blueberries, Glassen Farms and Growing Opportunities Farm Community Co-op in collaboration with Nanaimo Foodshare Society.
Produce is grown primarily by people with challenges and disabilities for Nanaimo Foodshare’s Good Food Box Program, and sold directly to the public through local farmers’ markets.
Many community organizations adapted to farm-based programming for the safe outdoor learning space it provided during the COVID pandemic. Tsawalk Learning Centre, Foodshare’s Cultivating Abilities, Homegrown and EAT programs, Katimavik and VIU all contributed to the rapid growth of areas under production.
In 2020 The Rotary Club of Nanaimo provided $25,000 towards two refrigerated shipping containers and an additional $10,000 in 2021 for an upgraded wash and pack area. Further funds from Agriculture Canada led to the improvement and repair of a water supply system fed from Cathers Lake.
The farm is a vibrant ecosystem on the banks of the Millstone River. Rigorous environmental assessments completed by Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRI) continue to guide management practices that respect and foster life.