Duncan Travel Blog› entry 11 of 17 › view all entries
May 27th, 2009 – by: hummingbird50
A friend of mine suggested we go out to Providence Farm...now I had never been there before and it is only about a 30 minute drive from where I live.
The day was warm...and I was told there were lots of funky things there...so away I went.
HISTORY OF THE FARM
The sisters of St. Ann purchased the 400 acre farm in 1864 on the condition that they would occupy and improve the land. the farm was first a boarding school for young native girls (1864-1876), and then enlarged to make room for orphan girls form the academy in Victoria. Next it became a boarding school for boys, in 1904, and from then to 1921, served between 30 to 50 pupils, mostly boarders.
The number of students increased after the construction in 1921 of a larger school, now known as Providence House. In 1950 girls were enrolled as externs and the student population grew to over 100. 1956 saw Providence House become a day school for girls and boys. alas on June 22, 1964, the school bell rang for the last time.
The 60's and 70's were a period of change and turmoil in much of the world. This encouraged a number of efforts to build a community to establish a better way of working together.
From 1978 to 1979 meetings took place with the sisters and other interested persons, and in July 12 1979, agreement had been made to establish a non-profit society named Vancouver Island Providence community Association- in memory of sister Mary Providence, the founder of the school and programs in Duncan.
Providence Farm is a therapeutic community.
It has and outdoor stage
The Alex Walker Pottery Studio which is a multi-media studio used by farm participents for a variety of artistic activities.
There is an allotment garden to encourage public use providing 80 plots of organic gardening space.
The Market Gardens
A variety of crops for sale in the farm store, commercial contracts, and the Duncan farmers Market.
The community garden
It is for the enjoyment of the members...many weeding are hosted in this garden
Garden and Nursery
The farm chores of collecting eggs, feeding the animals and cleaning the coops etc help with the rhythm of farm life. the resident donkeys Dolly and Molly faithfully watch the flock of sheep.
A small engine and repair shop
The cowichan therapeutic riding association which is a registered non-profit organization in partership with the farm since 1986. they offer therapeutic horseback riding to persons with disabilities.
Since 1979 they have been using this working organic farm to provide a home for a host of programs, people and groups that share a core purpose to restoring the spirit and skills of people in our community who have otherwise been marginalized.
Today there are 34 employees, 130 people participating in programs, 100 volunteers, 300 members and over 600 people coming to the farm each week. A single guiding principal underlies our success-----that caring for the land together is, by nature, healing and therapeutic......
So join me in my walk.........
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