“The Garry Oak Ecosytem is a living artifact of my ancestors. The Lekwungen people will continue to harvest and pitcook Kwetlal for many years to come. Its importance is vital to our history, traditions and future roles and responsibilities. There is still so much work to do in regards to reinstating Kwetlal food system and cultural roles.” Cheryl Bryce, 2011.
The Community Tool Shed initiative is part of the current and on-going work of a member of the Lekwungen community whom is inviting Indigenous people and allies to work together in reinstating the Kwetlal food system. This food system has endured over 150 years of colonial impacts including:
- cultural oppression;
- landscape change (land development);
- pollution; and
- encroachment of invasive plant species.
Today the Kwetlal food system is less than 5% of it Indigenous state prior to colonial contact. This 5% remains threatened and weakened through the suppression of culture roles; continued land fragmentation; and invasion of alien and invasive plant species.
The vision behind the Community Tool Shed project is twofold. One aim is to create a network of ‘community tool sheds’ where participants can access the appropriate equipment to continue the restoration of Kwetlal food systems together. The second is to provide a community where participants can engage in restoration work in a meaningful way, learning about the many ways colonialism has impacted communities beyond ecological factors. Through the work of the Community Tool Shed Project itself, volunteers partake in a cultural activity, learning about food systems, the land, and the histories that have affected both.
How to Get Involved
The Community Tool Shed working group meets on the first Sunday of every month to work together at a different location. Often the work is physically intense, involving the removal of such invasive plant species as Spurge Laurel (Daphne), Scotch Broom (Gorse), and Himalayan Blackberry. After working together for a few hours, participants will generally enjoy some snacks and discuss the days work. The Community Tool Shed meetups are open to all, provided you are willing to approach the work respectfully and with a willingness to learn. For more information please contact:
Paige at mapping@lekwungenfoodsystems[dot]org