Where Your Food Comes From: Fruits & Vegetables

What started as simple questions to a kindergartener turned into a yearlong endeavour on Revive’s part to answer the question where does your food come from? The question I asked was simple: “where do carrots come from?” The answer: “from the grocery store” to which I couldn’t help but smile. When asking a few other classmates the same question I was amazed to learn that most of the class had the same understanding of where we get our food.

This lead to our 2014 marketing mission: identifying the great spots around Edmonton to get fresh local food and thereby support the local community, economy and ecosystem.

The past few weeks we decided to focus on fresh produce. There are tons of options here; farmers markets, save on foods local section, or H and W produce. In this blog I hope to highlight some different options that you may not immediately think of. At the beginning of the summer Loreen and I signed up to share a Sun Hills Garden Community-supported agriculture (CSA) which is a locally-based economic model of agriculture and food distribution. Every Thursday I pick up a box of veggies for the week which is always packed full! We have been receiving all types of squashes including spaghetti, acorn, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, kohlrabies, lettuce, kale, onions, garlic… the list goes on! Loreen and I shared a full share which was 325.00 each +12 hours of labour on the farm. We have been getting vegetables since June and will continue until October. Let me tell you, it was well worth every penny!

The mission at Sunhills Garden is simple: “to produce fresh, tasty food for our family and our community in a way that sustains our land and provides meaningful work for our family and staff.” Like most of the business’ we have highlighted they believe in best practice: no pesticides, preservatives or chemicals, just delicious natural food from the source. The ability of working on the farm gives you a greater sense of community and knowledge of where your food is coming from. When Loreen and I arrived on the farm it was a wonderful coincidence that Loreen and the owner Karen actually did their internship together (we just wont say how long ago that was). You can see how much fun we had harvesting the vegetables before the early September frost. We were able to pick tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, pumpkins, celery and herbs. It was a great evening to get some extra activity and get to know the people growing our food.

Another option is check out the Green and Gold Community Garden at the University of Alberta, which is a joint project between the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Science and the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health. They also work closely with the Tubahumurize Association. The Garden started in Manitoba by Sarah Bowen and Eduardo Parada, and was moved to Edmonton in 2008 when Sarah took a position at the University of Alberta.

Where Your Food Comes From | Revive Wellness IncWhat’s unique about this garden is you go around with a volunteer who not only helps to harvest the vegetables, but they also educate you about the vegetables, how they grow, what other varieties they have, and other things to try. They have over 60 different vegetables, herbs, and flowers to choose from.

Five minutes into speaking with the volunteer coordinator, Maureen, and you can tell how passionate she is about her work in helping the Tubahumurize Association, in Rwanda.

“It’s a way to act locally and think globally.” In fact 100% of the proceeds from the garden donations go to the “not-for-profit organization that supports socially and economically marginalized women through counselling, vocational training, health education, and employment opportunities many of whom are survivors of the Rwandan genocide, widows or orphans, have HIV,or are victims of domestic violence”.

Where Your Food Comes From | Revive Wellness Inc

The garden is completely run by volunteers, and virtually everything, from the seeds to the equipment, is donated as they want to ensure all of the proceeds go to Tubahumurize.

This is truly a unique experience and a great way to give back locally and globally as well, and to show and teach our children where our food comes from.