07/04/2015 01:18 EDT | Updated 07/04/2016 05:59 EDT

Nelson SEEDS greenhouse crushed by tree

A major contributor to local food security in Nelson, B.C. was destroyed when a massive storm sent a tree crashing into the greenhouse run by the Seniors Economic Environment Development Society, or SEEDS.

The timing couldn't have been worse, said the non-profit's executive director Eva Hernandez in an interview with Radio West host Rebecca Zandbergen.

"We've in the past grown the equivalent of about 500 to 600 pounds annually. We were set on track to triple that this year, actually, so that's unfortunate."

More than 50 kilograms of produce, including tomato plants, cucumbers and peppers were torn apart by flying shards of glass. None of it was salvageable.

Big blow to local food security

"For the community as a whole, it's been a tremendous loss," said Hernandez.  

The program, run by volunteer seniors, was donating two-thirds of its harvest to local emergency food programs, including the Nelson Food Cupboard, and the local women's shelter. 

With the greenhouse out of commission, those programs will need someone else to pitch in, she said.

"We're hopeful that the community can make up for those donations and support the local emergency food relief services during this time that we're out of service."

Tremendous community support

"People we never even knew we were connected to are reaching out from all around the entire Kootenays, even from the Okanagan," Hernandez said.

"They're reaching out saying how they're impacted by the work we did, or they spent time in the greenhouse, or they benefited in some way from the programs that we offer." 

The organization is waiting to hear from the City of Nelson, which owns the property, as to what the future of the space will be.

In the mean time, Hernandez has been encouraging SEED volunteers to get involved with other local community gardens.

"We're trying to look at other ways that we can make a positive impact on food security in Nelson during this downtime for our greenhouse operation."

"We lost our primary space, but we have not lost our place in community."

To hear the full interview with Eva Hernandez, listen to the audio labelled: Nelson greenhouse crushed by tree.