It may not have been declared a winner in this year’s BC Real Estate Foundation’s (BCREF) Land Awards, but according to Groundswell board member Bill Swan, Invermere’s Community Greenhouse was a winner the moment it was nominated as a finalist.

“We’re such a small place doing kind of global level things; it’s something to be proud of,” Swan said.

In early October, The Valley Echo reported that the community greenhouse located at David Thompson Secondary School in Invermere had been named a finalist in the 2012 BCREF Land Awards in the non-profit category.

The Land Awards recognize initiatives that demonstrate leadership, innovation, and collaboration in sustainable land use in British Columbia. At the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Vancouver on October 26, this year’s finalists across all the Land Awards categories – non-profit, private and public – gathered for a special gala that recognized and celebrated their efforts as B.C.’s land champions.

The event was MC’d by non-other than Invermere realtor Barry Brown-John, formerly a BCREF chair and governor.

“(Barry) was signing our praises, he was working the room, talking about Invermere and what we’ve pulled off,” chuckled Swan.

Gala attendees also had the opportunity to hear a presentation on eco-friendly living and sustainable land use by keynote speaker Ed Begley Jr., the American actor and renowned environmentalist, and receive a copy of Begley’s most recent book, which Swan is donating to the Invermere Public Library.

“Rather than just put it in the greenhouse, I thought we would put it in the community library so people could have a look,” he said.

The greenhouse also benefited from the Land Awards by way of a 90-second professionally done video — “which is tremendously useful to us,” said Swan — created by the BCREF for each of the finalists. The video can be viewed on YouTube under 2012 Land Awards Finalist — Groundswell Community Greenhouse, and the link has also been posted on Facebook on the Groundswell Network & Community Greenhouse page, where information on the greenhouse’s upcoming events and activities can also be found.

“By going to the Land Awards, I think it’s connected us with a larger audience that understands more about what we’ve been doing,” said Swan. “I think it’s just another measure of the attention the project has received, and the community — it is recognition of the community’s efforts.”