Author Archives: Barbara

Walk – Groundswell Community Greenhouse & Garden with Dale Wilker, the soil whisperer

Wings Over the Rockies Event
This Greenhouse Tour will provide you with fresh insight on the progress being made to use gardening as a profoundly important way to deal with CLIMATE CHANGE. You will see how Groundswell is harnessing nature to be green in new ways. Using permaculture methods to remove all chemical use (even organic) and reducing water usage, while increasing the hardiness of plants and the amount of produce.
You’ll enjoy the engineering of the greenhouse and the lushness of the garden. You will be refreshed with a glass of herb ice tea and tips on food as medicine.
Dale Wilker was one of the founding members of Groundswell Network Society and responsible for the state of the art greenhouse whose technology was well ahead of its time. His passion to grow food in a way that was healthy for people and healthy for the environment, has led a huge change through the valley.
Location: Invermere
Level: Easy
Date/Time:  Monday, May 6 , 2 to 3:30
Max: 20
Cost:  TBA
Things to bring: Dress in layers (if the sun is shining the greenhouse can be very warm, while the outside garden may be cool or rainy), water, snacks, hat, sunscreen, camera, note book and pen.   
Directions: 1535 14th St, Invermere, south side of David Thompson Secondary School

Thanks to our sponsors in 2023

Thanks for shining a light in the valley – your sponsorship has helped us get closer to ensuring that everyone in this valley goes to bed with a full, well-nourished tummy.

MainStreetFunandGames-WinsFavouriteTreeMain Street Fun and Games – Wins Favourite Tree

Sponsors made almost 1,000 people’s holiday season a little brighter (literally). Having the support of sponsors this first year of Garden of Lights meant everything to us here at Groundswell. Some businesses told us they couldn’t participate because it was new and untried – you are the heros who jumped in and made it happen. “Thank you” doesn’t begin to express our appreciation.

Because of you we were able to achieve the following:

  • Clean up the greenhouse and garden after many years of neglect and struggle to just keep going
  • Recycle, Restore, Redecorate – thanks to our Dumpster diving at Windermere Walmart, shopping ‘till we dropped at the Thrift store, and bingeing on styrofoam reclaimed from packing crates and wood from pallets. We started with no seed money, $0 capital. Best Comments: “Wow, we can’t believe you made these decorations out of recycled materials. It was so creative.” That is in large part thanks to the genius of Hi Jinx, who headed the decoration team and to the DTSS IE students who built the incredible Starland and many of the greenhouse decorations.
  • Have 1000 people know where Groundswell is and a little bit about what it does. When we added together on-line tickets, Brick tickets, sponsors tickets, entertainers tickets, and JA Laird parent tickets we had 1000 people go through the door of the Groundswell greenhouse. YIPPEE!
  • Involve community in a fun event that would inform more families about us – over 567 votes were cast for the Favorite Tree – Mainstreet Fun and Games was awarded the Paul Mondragon incredible tree sculpture, Four Points was a close second, and JA Laird’s Gramma Got Run Over By a Reindeer came in 3rd. Bryant Olender with talented musicians from the valley created the sing-a-long entertainment that bought people together.
  • We projected $10,000 profit for the first year, earmarked to go towards a qualified greenhouse managers salary. We came very close and if we are lucky a few donations still coming in will help us achieve it.
  • Gain new volunteers. Over 40 volunteers participated in the preparation and delivery of the event – over 30% of those had never volunteered for Groundswell before. And over 15% were MEN! You can’t imagine what a thrill that was to see power tools building a stage, stringing electrical lines, lifting sand bags. Testosterone is pretty heady stuff around a garden.
  • Build new relationships and networks of people who care about Food Sustainability – the DOI, the Fire Dept, the RCMP detachment, The School district, and many of the business community who were not sponsors still stepped up to help in other ways. Special thanks goes to Ski Homes and Solar Country for ‘lighting us up’. What they pulled off was no less than a miracle.


Groundswell is going into a new phase of “growth” as it deals with increasingly critical issues that affect the entire valley. Groundswell is a non-profit organization run by volunteers. Its mandate is both growing healthy food and teaching others to grow healthy food in a sustainable way.

Food sustainability is in a perfect storm in the valley between Climate Change and Economic upheaval. Employed, hard working families are increasingly going to bed hungry from both lack of food and lack of nutrition from cheap food. Our population is increasingly vulnerable. We know how quickly we can be cut off from outside food sources through floods, avalanches, fires, and other catastrophic events.

Groundswell is a CORE/ROOT solution to food sustainability – Groundswell teaches people to fish rather than giving them a fish. Food for a lifetime vs. food for lunch.

In a world that says, “No one wants to volunteer anymore.” Groundswell has enjoyed the contribution of people with diverse ethnicities, ages, family structures, and knowledge levels. We had 15 year old volunteers and 85 year old volunteers. Through their help over the past 3 years, Groundswell has taught literally 100s of people to garden or garden more effectively; enjoying increased production while reducing water and increasing the amount of living soil left behind after each crop.

Many were helping to ensure that everyone in this valley goes to bed with a full, well- nourished tummy.

If you have feedback, are interested in sponsoring in 2024, or have ideas on how we can do more – we’d love to know.

WatchfortheGrinchtoreimergefromhismountainin2024Watch for the Grinch to reimerge from his mountain in 2024

Below are a few comments we received over the 4 days of Garden of Lights:

“Everything looked beautiful – very well done event!” – Shelley Little

“I came on Friday 15th to listen to Laird Choir with Bryant.
Thank you so Much… it was well organized and fun.” – Anne Rose

Yay to the person with this idea! Yay to the very hard working volunteers! Yay to the sponsors! Yay to the musicians! Yay to the community that made it such a success! Yay! Yay! Yay! Well done! – Ania Cronin

Great photos! It was a very special thing! Well done all! The community spirit lives? – Ania Cronin

Such an amazing event!! Congratulations on pulling this off! 🤯🎉🎁 – Duncan Whittick

I just got back from the Xmas service at our Alliance Church. The poinsettia’s looked wonderful and all found homes after the service. Our pastor had kind words to say about Groundswell!
Good job. 👏 – Liz Vanderkuck

Groundswell’s Garden of Lights was most merry and marvellous! Thanks to all the delightful volunteers, musicians, vendors, and organizers! – Anne Jardin

Last night, we went to #GardenofLights the fundraiser for the Groundswell Network Society. Impressive that a small community like Invermere can put on such a complex professional event. – Jenny Feick

This is such a great event! Congratulations to Groundswell Community Greenhouse & Gardens and their volunteers! – Wilma Slenders

Bringing a second group through on Saturday, I had so much fun last weekend! – Heather Fischbuch

Attended this evening…such a fun & magical event!! Well done to all organizers, sponsors & volunteers!! Really enjoyed the evening! – Cortney Pitts

Oliver and I and the kids were there last Saturday night and it was great! We had a really great evening and all the lights and the gardens were beautiful. Anna and Randy and my folks, along with their friends are going tomorrow night. – Lin Egan, Winderberry Greenhouse and Gardens

What a great event!!! Way to go Groundswell! – Lin Egan Winderberry / Edible Acres Farm + Cafe + Catering

Thanks Groundswell Community Greenhouse & Gardens for putting on such a magical winter event!
Duncan Whittick

The Groundswell team put on such an incredible show. It was a feel good experience for everyone who attended. I hope that through the corporate sponsorships alone it was a big success for your group but it is also going to pay dividends in the year to come through the people who attended this event. So many people I talked to loved it or heard about it and wished they had gone. Congratulations on a fantastic execution, our community is lucky to have you! – Edson Martins, Store Manager Invermere Home Hardware.

Keep Growing,
Barbara Thrasher