A bite of information | Blog
How Did YOUR Garden Grow?
The air is crisp, and the leaves are beginning to fall. We have slipped into Autumn, and this time of year always brings a harvest of home-grown goodness.…
The Calgary Food Bank strives to ensure that close to 30% of our emergency food hampers contain fruits and vegetables. When we can add fresh produce to a hamper, it’s even better! A study done a few years ago determined that eating lots of fruits and veggies is correlated with a substantial gain in mental well-being, happiness, and overall life satisfaction. We already know that eating produce daily as part of a healthy, balanced diet benefits our physical well-being, but research proves that a healthy diet can also impact your psychological health.
While canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are packed at their peak freshness and retain all the essential benefits, including fibre, vitamins and minerals, there’s something extraordinary about enjoying fresh-from–the earth, home-grown veggies. Lucky for us, green-thumb gardeners drop off part of their harvest at this time of year, and every amount is appreciated. We also have large community initiatives providing fresh produce for weeks.
TransAlta Retirees POWER Garden The acronym for Projects Organized with Energetic Retirees, but POWER is an understatement for these dedicated TransAlta pensioners. Since 1999, more than 60 passionate volunteers have tended the .55-hectare parcel that grows vegetables to donate them to the Food Bank. A partnership with Eagle Lake Landscapers in 2020 added a new 1-acre garden, the Get Growing Garden, to their inventory, doubling the donation of fresh vegetables. So far this year’s harvest has brought in a whopping 61,115 pounds of vegetables.
Chevron Retirees Garden of Eat’n In 1997 Marlene and Jack Begg wanted to do something helpful in their community and realized they could make a difference in their own backyard. That first year, 25 volunteers from AmoCARES, BP and Chevron combined their forces to plant, weed and harvest almost four thousand pounds of beets, carrots, potatoes and onions. After a hiatus, the Garden of Eat’n was reborn in a new location. This year we received a record 9,811 pounds!
Feed The Hungry Garden When this garden started, the produce grown was used to serve healthy, high-quality meals to homeless and marginalized Calgarians at Feed the Hungry, a program of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary. In 2017, they planted a large plot just outside the city limits where their clients helped grow and harvest additional fresh produce for the Calgary Food Bank. Although the Feed the Hungry program has ceased in the wake of the pandemic, the garden still produces thousands of pounds of vegetables for use in the thousands of hampers distributed weekly.
DID YOU GROW VEGGIES TO DONATE?
Potatoes, zucchini, carrots or others? Please note that garden soil, free of pesticides or chemicals, creates a protective layer that keeps the produce fresher for longer. When we wash vegetables so they look ‘good,’ they are now vulnerable to the air and will start to decompose. Special cleaners are not necessary; a simple wash before use is the best.
*Unfortunately, we cannot accept crab apples, rhubarb or any home-grown fruit
MORE: Grow-A-Row | Calgary Food Bank