As part of our 2014 season wrap up, we interviewed members of our community about their experiences with the EGP, and we’d like to share some of their stories with you. Thanks to all for sharing!
EGP Volunteer Diana:
I saw a call for volunteers in the paper – and food growing really resonated with me because people need food and shelter as basics for life. The EGP brought energy & responsiveness to my wanting to get engaged in my community, and also gave me what I needed – being out in the garden with other people, together making positive changes. The EGP builds community from the ground up, engaging kids, and bringing people together through the farms, gardens and the classroom. The work empowers us to learn how we can be more sustainable and reduce our dependence on imported food. In a small way, I’m part of making my community a better place. As well, I’m get to learn so much through the EGP, I better understand the impact of food waste and the efforts going on to change this pattern – and I was lucky to be at the start of another EGP initiative which is supporting the Food Hub by selling discounted local produce (mainly grown in our gardens) to low income folks. As volunteers, we’re growing while we’re growing our gardens.
EGP Food Hub Patron Angela:
Offering our fresh produce at a deeply discounted cost to Food Hub patrons was a new model, but appears to be successful, says Angela. “People value things more when they have to give something up for it.”
Angela is a local North Shore resident, who recently immigrated from the United States with her family. When they first moved to the North Shore, neither she nor her husband had work, and needed a little help getting on their feet for the first few months. Having worked on organic farms before, she desired to feed her family with healthy, locally-grown fresh food, but this was often not the standard food bank fare. She was excited to see the Edible Garden Project’s fresh market at the Food Hub.
Often the food is not organic, out of date, or of poor quality, so having access to fresh, healthy, local food at the Food Hub is extremely important – not just for me, but for a lot of people going to the food hub who may not have the ability or inclination to go for healthy organic veggies otherwise. Without the Food Hub, we would have been forced to eat poor quality foods & not have all the nutrients available.
EGP Farm Gate Sales Customer Colleen:
There is something about fresh local food that makes me excited and happy. When I look at all the food lined up, the colour – It’s what I get to put in my body and my family’s bodies. I know it’s going to make me a better person physically. I struggle in the winter and have to think about where I will find organic produce that is locally grown. I want to eat as close to home as possible and it takes more time and effort to shop when the farm gate sales aren’t running.
Colleen values not only the access to fresh food grown in her community, but also the sense of community that the farm markets foster.
The farm community means a great deal to me. I work and live in the community and there is something about being able to get on my bike and pull up at the farm and purchase the local, fresh food food that my family eats, from the farmer, so close to home- The markets strengthen the connections I already have in the community. I like the like-mindedness of my neighbours – when I ride by and have my produce sticking out of the back – people smile and wave. It gives a sense of wholeness, of completion. There is a sense of family at the farm – everyone is so welcoming, friendly and inclusive.
EGP Fed Up Program Participant Teacher Susan:
Kids need to connect with nature, to have a relationship with their food & where good food comes from, and so many here can’t afford it. For the students to have freshly grown food, learn the value of hard work, appreciate food that has been grown for them, and to learn respect for life in the garden (and for all living things), – you can’t teach that unless it’s hands-on. Students learn to use tools, to plant something and watch it grow. The pride that they show in growing something from a seed to a plant is so exciting to see. There are so many things you can connect to the garden. The program is totally irreplaceable.