403-253-2059 | info@calgaryfoodbank.com
About the Calgary Food Bank

Community Gardens

Community gardens help to provide fresh produce to our clients. When we can give food that is healthy, it is not just a gift for an empty tummy, it tells someone they matter.

Community gardens

Fresh from the heart

Food connects us as a community and builds each other up in times of need. Nothing is more true than Calgarians who, every year, come together to grow vegetables for their neighbours in need. Some are private and public community gardens, and others are organized volunteer efforts exclusively for the Food Bank. Large or small, every donation from a garden makes an incredible impact. When we can add fresh produce to a family or individual’s hamper, we are helping to build their resiliency. It is critical to eat well when you are in crisis, so when we can give fresh garden vegetables it tells someone they matter. This shows them we want them to get out of the circumstances they are in by providing them with the best food possible. Did you know you can donate produce from your garden?

started in 1999

TransAlta POWER Garden

The acronym stands 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 hectar parcel that grows vegetables for the sole purpose of donating them to the Food Bank. John Holmes, a full time volunteer with TransAlta’s POWER Garden, 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, the feeling of pride and satisfaction from gardening is multiplied” Holmes says, from the added element of donating the food. “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.”

The POWER Garden was relocated in 2019 to an area West of the Janet substation. Volunteers did not hold much hope of success as the soil was rock and clay. However, timely rains throughout the growing season and an application of rich compost supplied by Eagle Lake Landscapers enabled the beets and carrots to thrive.

The amazing 2019 crop will not only be remembered as the first crop in the ‘new’ POWER Garden site, but also as the 20th consecutive POWER Garden crop! The 2019  harvest puts the total pounds of fresh produce donated over the years to 407,670 pounds!

Eager to provide even more fresh produce for our clients the hardworking volunteers have expanded the TransAlta Power Garden! They have planted a second garden 5km SE of Strathmore thanks to a generous donation of land from Eagle Lake Farms.  In March the POWER Garden Coordinators met with Nathan Gill and Eric Heuver, the owners of Eagle Lake Farms. Nathan and Eric had a strip of irrigated prime farm land that had been used to grow sod for golf putting greens. With a shrinking market, they wanted to use some of this land for a community garden to support the Calgary Food Bank. The new 1 acre garden, 5km SE of Strathmore, is being tended by 40 volunteers. The new garden is aptly named Get Growing.

They have planted carrots, beets, zucchini, spaghetti squash, onions, kohlrabi and potatoes this year.

 

Acres of Land

0.95

volunteers

60

pounds of donated food

12,216

Thank You

Our Supporters

It takes a village to raise a garden, and we are so thankful to have the support of organizations in Calgary that discount or donate goods and services. Thank you to all our supporters who are helping grow the TransAlta Power garden.

AltaLink
Eagle Lake Professional Landscape Supply
Feed the Hungry
TransAlta
UpperGreen Farms
Waste Management of Canada Corp
started in 1997

BP-Chevron Garden of Eat’n

When Marlene and Jack Begg returned from their teaching mission in Ethiopia in the mid ‘90s, they were still feeling inspired and wanted to do something helpful in their own community. They looked around and realized they could make a difference right in their own backyard! 25 volunteers from AmoCARES, BP and Chevron came out to plant, weed and harvest almost four thousand pounds of beets, carrots, potatoes and onions in the first year. 20 years and 184,573 pounds later, the Garden of Eat’n was Calgary’s longest-running, volunteer-driven, largest-producing community garden.

“It is amazing how this “It is amazing how this garden has produced so much over the years,” says the charismatic owner, Marlene Begg. “We rely soley on Mother Nature to provide the sun and the rain to grow.” It’s not just the potatoes and carrots, Begg explains, but that the garden is providing healthy food for families in crisis. “Healthy food produces healthy people who can continue on and overcome their obstacles.”

After a 2 year hiatus the Garden of Eat’n is back. A core group of 15 volunteers have planted a new garden just north of Cochrane. The group, comprised of volunteers from Chevron and the Chevron Retirees Association, are working hard to get the new garden up and running. They are planting carrots, beets, zucchini, spaghetti squash, onions and potatoes.

 

“We have a long way to go to match the output of the original Garden of Eat’n,” says the Chevron Retirees In Action project coordinator Ted Spearing. “We are learning as we go and working to improve the site. We have a core group of about 15 keen volunteers who were more than happy to get outside for a change of scene while maintaining physical distancing during our planting day. With some cooperation from the weather we’ll be back to manage the weeds over the summer and bring in the harvest come September for the many people in need at the Calgary Food Bank.”

 

Acres of Land

0.55

volunteers

15

pounds of donated food (1997-2017)

184,573

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

Audrey Hepburn

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ADDRESS

5000 11 St SE
Calgary, AB T2H 2Y5

Main line: 403-253-2059
Fax: 403-259-4240
info@calgaryfoodbank.com

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