Why harvest season is our favourite season!

The air is crisper, the leaves are changing and pumpkin spice is baked, blended and brewed into nearly everything we consume. It must be autumn in Calgary!

Though we’re sad to see summer go, there is a gigantic silver lining for us and our clients — it’s harvest season! Which means that some of our local gardens like TransAlta’s POWER Garden, BP-Chevron’s Garden of Eat’n, Grow Calgary and others will be making some pretty hefty donations of fresh produce!

John Holmes, a full time volunteer with TransAlta’s POWER Garden for the past five years, says farming is in his blood so he was instantly drawn to the idea of urban and community gardening.

“I think it’s watching things grow. You nurture them, you pull out the bad weeds and it’s all about this,” Holmes says as he looks out over the sea of potatoes being dug out of the ground by about 60 POWER Garden volunteers.

“Harvesting and getting to this point and is a huge success.”

On the other side of this at the food bank, we love donations of fresh produce so our clients can leave here with something delicious, fresh and healthy. And it means so much more to us coming from our community’s gardens because of the dedicated time, effort and love has to go into growing something from scratch. To literally reap what you sow!

Most of us can’t even keep a houseplant plant alive, let alone a 1.35 acre garden!

The feeling of pride and satisfaction from gardening is multiplied, Holmes says, from the added element of donating the food, too!

“When you say it’s a charity garden for the food bank people just open their doors. We lease this land for a dollar a year, which we’ve never paid, and (farmers) load up trucks with the best seeds.”

Since 1999, the year the POWER Garden started, they’ve donated 315,663 pounds of fresh produce. This year was one of the garden’s best year with a yield of 30,000 pounds! Holmes says the success can be attributed to a healthy amount of rain and the absence of hail in that area of the city.

The garden trend isn’t slowing down, Holmes says, in fact it’s quite the opposite. With more and more people interested in growing their own food, urban and community gardens are spreading fast, even in Calgary!

This climate is good for more than just crabapples, people!

BP-Chevron Garden of Eat’n

– Started in 1997
– 80 volunteers
– 75 acres of land
– 2014: 20,000 lbs donated

TransAlta POWER Garden

– Started 1999
– 60 TransAlta retiree volunteers
–  1.35 acres of land
– 2014: 16,000 lbs donated

Grow Calgary

– Started 2013
– 1,400 volunteers
– 11 acres (2.5 acres developed) of land
– 2014: 4,070 lbs donated

Typical produce grown: 


More Harvest Photos:

Donate fresh produce!

We strive to get as much fresh food into our hampers as possible.

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