- Agriculture & Food Production
- Non-Profits or Charities
- Compost coaching and demonstration with countertop collector sales
- Arts and culture events on site throughout the year
- A rustic, aesthetic, natural site in downtown demonstrating urban sustainability practices
Meet Mary Forbes, Founder & the Potato House Sustainable Community Society Board of Directors
Mary Forbes, a local business owner and nature and conservation interpreter, was out walking downtown one day when an old house caught her eye. She had never really noticed it before, despite the fact that the grew up in Williams Lake. She wondered about the history of the home, so she began asking around town about it. She learned that people referred to it as “the potato man’s house,” because the previous owner had a substantial garden, a majority of which was devoted to potatoes. The house was in need of some TLC, and Mary wondered if the home would fit into a heritage home plan.
After talking with city officials, she learned that Williams Lake didn’t have a heritage home plan or program. It started her on a quest to develop a heritage policy within the city and to gather a group of like-minded locals together who would be willing to help save and preserve the house. Mary also had a passion for green and sustainable living and hoped to combine the effort to save the home with a green community program, and eventually the Potato House Sustainable Community Society was born. Soon a donor came forward and offered to purchase the house on the society’s behalf, making it possible for the society to realize its dream of preserving the home.
The society started in 2012 with the outside of the home, giving it curb appeal and putting in a community garden and a composting system. Future plans include a complete restoration of the inside, a process that will likely take years. For now, the community has benefited from the urban garden and the composting program, and the society has partnered with a number of different local companies, businesses and groups to put on events like the annual Zombie Walk, a beer garden during the Williams Lake Stampede and even professional photography sessions for little ones in the home’s pumpkin patch. They even partner with a local preschool, Exploring the Puddle. The children visit the site periodically to pick up debris, learn about composting and check on the progress of the produce in the gardens.
Grassroots. Green. Open-Minded.
The Potato House Sustainable Community Society is a community initiative to celebrate one of the last standing downtown heritage houses of Williams Lake while simultaneously encouraging and actively demonstrating urban sustainability practices. The Potato House Sustainable Community Society operates and cares for the Potato House, a 1933 heritage home located in the downtown area. Its goal is to restore and preserve the home and its original, unique character and to use the property for community food production, composting and gardening and composting education. The Potato House Sustainable Community Society is governed by a volunteer board of directors who have a passion for both the community and for sustainable living and green practices. The society holds a number of community events throughout the year designed to foster community and to promote awareness of sustainable living. The society also offers services like a gleaning program (picking people’s unwanted fruit from trees each year) and a leaf pick-up program in the fall, using the leaves as part of the compost system. There is even an on-site urban bee farm.
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