Victory in Community

Beverly Written by Beverly Leavitt April 28, 2021 Partnerships

Three people digging in a field.

In uncertain times, food brings people together. It gathers loved ones, nourishes bodies, and roots us in a greater lifecycle. 

Some of which has been lacking since COVID-19 started and all of which has become even more evident as we saw a revival in gardening—and a renewed interest in food production.

Much like during World War II when governments created Victory Gardens to supplement food rations and boost morale, Kubota saw the same opportunity to bring that empowerment and reward back during the pandemic. And Bob, Mark and their team at D&S Downham Equipment couldn’t help but jump on board to #GrowStronger!

Land of Growth

Their dealership was built in 1843 and the promise of seven acres of undeveloped land across the street begged the beginning of a new building. 

A few acres too many, the Downhams decided to use some of the land to start a community garden. After sparking the idea, staff and customers quickly rolled up their sleeves to chip in. 

“We didn’t know much about gardens when we planted it, but one of our staff knew how to grow potatoes from home, so he planted some and cared for them for us. When customers heard, one donated sweet corn seed and another brought his tractor to plant it. 

Everyone thought: ‘you always feel better when you’re helping’ and it was true,” boasts Mark.

(Veggies) of Their Labour

In the first year, D&S Downham partnered with The Local, Stratford’s community food bank that serves 400 people three times a week. 

Through their efforts, they harvested and donated 1,500 pounds of food plus approximately 600-700 cobs of sweet corn!

“It feels good to help, even though in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t much,” humbly states Mark.

This year, they’ve adjusted the vegetables they’re growing to better meet the needs of the food bank. They’ll be replacing some of the squash varieties with cabbage on top of potatoes, zucchini, and sweet corn that The Local hasn’t been able to grow in their own gardens. 

The Pollinator Effect

After a successful year, another growing season approaching, and the dealership breaking ground, the community garden will rely on a generous neighbour that has allowed them to expand onto their property. This will maintain the garden until the new location is built and operational.

It just goes to show that a little soil and seeds, a willing workforce, and one dedicated dealership can make a difference in nourishing a community with more than just food.