Green thumbs encouraged
Service providers in the Victoria area were invited to share their environmental practices for a chance to receive $100 to help their organization “grow greener”. The funding was passed on to service providers by the South Island Quality Service Office after being acknowledged for the training its staff took. Several submissions were received.
On March 31, Integra Support Services received the $100 in recognition of the numerous activities they are involved in to help the environment. These steps include: recycling of materials and clothing, reducing water use, using green cleaning supplies, composting at all their facilities, using public transportation as often as possible, and installing a new server so staff can access documents remotely, which eliminates their need to drive to the office.
“This is an issue that our agency feels very passionate about,” said Al Coccola, Chief Financial Officer for Integra. “We do all the basic ‘green things’. This green spirit flows through our company and even includes our home sharing providers.”
Recently, Integra started a gardening project as part of their Good Neighbours community inclusion program. Good Neighbours helps connect adults with a range of abilities with opportunities in community. The gardening project was started to give some of the people who had fewer opportunities to connect an option to share their gifts. The funds were given to the gardening project to help get it underway.
“We’ve bought fruits and vegetables to help get the garden started, and so that people can see progress quickly,” said Joanna May, Manager of Community Inclusion for Integra. “Our plan is to use what we grow in the garden to teach people about harvesting, washing and preparing fresh produce that they’ve grown.”
There are four adults who regularly attend the gardening project for an hour a week. The garden was started a month ago at a support home that is new to Integra. The home’s garden was quite large and overgrown, and provided the perfect place to show people how to create a garden from the ground up. On the day CLBC visited, support workers and adults were working side by side under blue skies to clear weeds and plant seedlings.
“It’s been exciting to see the adults involved get into the project. The first week we had people who didn’t want to get dirt on their hands, and now they are digging out weeds,” said Joanna.
Integra’s goal for the first year of the project is to get the remainder of the grounds prepped and weeded. All the refuse from the garden is being composted, and will be used to fertilize the new beds, helping make the project environmentally friendly and cost effective. Joanna hopes to grow more food and their own seedlings next year.
To find out more about ways that CLBC is going green, please visit the CLBC website under About > Go Green.