Josh’s Story: “Every Seed is a Chance”

Walking around the garden he’s painstakingly built over the last three years; Josh is beaming with pride.

It all started with a conversation with a Coast staff member, Alexia: “She really cared, and she asked me, you know, how’s it going, like how’s it really going?” says Josh.

He was worried about the state of food security in the world, and also “bored, broke and hungry a lot of the time”.

She suggested starting a garden in the unused yard space.

Three years on, Josh and his garden are both thriving: “It feels good if I’m taking care of something alive.

And when they’re doing well, that’s like a whole new definition of love, I guess.”

“This project really has stabilized his mental health.” adds Colin Baker, Community Health Worker


Adopted into a blended family on the Katzie reserve, Josh grew up with a love of the land:

“I am grateful for having been raised in a First Nations community. They gave me an entirely different perspective. It’s a different viewpoint.”

But after moving into the city, he found the adjustment challenging.

Diagnosed with depression, autism and learning difficulties, navigating the world of work was tough:

“I have a real hard time figuring out what people say is one thing, but what they actually mean is quite an entirely different matter.”

“I have had jobs but there’s always something weird about me. I’ve tried working in so many jobs, and I’ll probably try again. But for now, this garden will keep me busy.” he explains.

“I still get lonely and stuff a lot and everything, but I also understand a big part of that is just, that’s part of a fact of what it means to be a human, like I’m gonna be alone always sometimes.” he reflects.

He hopes to put his skills to use by working with Coast’s ‘Landscaping with Heart’ social enterprise once his garden project is complete.


Grow food, feed people: Josh's garden is providing fresh food to his fellow tenants, because of you.

Every seed is a chance

Josh’s dream for the garden is to grow everything for a salad.

Through trial and error, he’s built structures, planters, and now uses hydroponics to maximise yields.  He grows tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, berries, herbs, and more, which he gives to his fellow tenants, the Resource Centre, and the Clubhouse.

Last summer, five fellow tenants regularly received deliveries of fresh fruit and veggies, with the excess going directly to the chefs at the Clubhouse and RC.  

”So the idea is to grow as much food as possible and with the small space available, to try to keep the cost down. It has to look nice. The rest of it looks nice in the off-season.” says Josh

But there’s a deeper meaning for Josh – a metaphor for resilience, and perhaps his own journey.

“Every seed is a chance. Right? Life loves a chance and it will grow if it has what it needs for life. And it plants do really good at saying how they’re doing, but they don’t always say what they need when they’re struggling.”

A project thanks to, and for the community

Along with the gardens, Joshua has created a wonderful and welcoming outdoor space outside with a gazebo and table to create shade from the sun and another common space for people to enjoy. Now, more of his fellow tenants use the backyard to gather with friends or simply spend time outside. 

And some have even pitched in to help with the efforts.

Although he’s done the bulk of the labour, Josh is grateful to the others that have made the project possible:

“It’s only been possible because Coast has actually helped me, and people in the building have also contributed”.

Josh’s gardening project is only possible thanks to the generosity of our community – your donations allow us to fund many client-led gardening projects like this across Coast.


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Your donation to Coast Mental Health Foundation provides essential housing, support, and employment services for people with mental illness so they can find their meaningful place in our community – a place to live, a place to connect, and a place to work.



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