Who are you + what do you do?
Growing Veggies & Growing People are my professional passions. Whether I am on the farm managing multiple acres of mixed organic vegetables, mentoring new farmers, or helping condo Developers and dwellers to start community gardens and farmers’ markets, if I am using food as a vehicle to grow community, I am happy and feeling aligned with my purpose.
Who do you work with?
Gardeners, farmers, local food vendors, Developers, volunteers, interested community members…anyone who wants to grow their relationship with food and sustainability!
How can interested community members get involved?
Come help out on the farm! Volunteer activities include a combination of planting, weeding, harvesting, preparing veg for market, plant care, etc. Helping out on the farm is a great opportunity to learn practical growing skills, to meet wonderful like-minded folks, and to take home fresh, organic veggies! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested. Or, you can participate in The Global Garlic Project by growing your own crop, and getting seed garlic in our shop. Or simply sign up for our newsletter Farm Talk.
Like a garlic crop itself, my passion for garlic grows exponentially. I love to grow it, cook it, and eat it. I love that by planting the cloves from one bulb, you can have up to 12 bulbs nine months later. I love that one could grow their garlic crop from one bulb to over 1 million bulbs in less than six years. I love that garlic is powerful medicine for the body. I love garlic’s flavour! I love that there are so many varieties of garlic, and that by growing some, we are promoting seed diversity. Most of all, I LOVE TO SHARE IT! Knowing that I have helped countless gardeners and farmers launch their own garlic crops, and supported countless eaters with their health gives me great satisfaction.
Why Community Gardens in Condos?
Living in a condo can be an isolating experience. It’s typical for a condo dweller to go from the parking lot to the elevator to one’s own unit, and never really engage with one’s neighbours. Gardening is the perfect antidote! Being part of a condo community garden allows one to develop friendships and a sense of community, while spending time outdoors, and growing one’s own food! Additionally, condo community gardens add a necessary component to the Urban Agriculture infrastructure of our cities — helping us to be more food secure.
Why Farmers’ Markets?
I LOVE FARMERS MARKETS! For vendors, for shoppers, for families, for the whole community. For consumers, Farmers’ Markets help to improve nutrition by providing access to local, organic, fresh food; provide direct relationships with farmers – allowing for information to be shared about growing practices; provide education around current agricultural issues, and new types and varieties of vegetables; inform and inspire on how to expand ones culinary pursuits. For growers, Farmers Markets allow for increased financial returns through direct sales; provide direct feedback from customers; reduce packaging; and provide a secure and consistent outlet for small-scale and new growers. Undoubtedly, Farmers Markets are an ideal location to access the highest quality of foods and contribute to the creation of a healthy food system. Yet, the best part is the community vibe that can develop. A Farmers’ Market can be the ultimate community gathering place to build relationships, interconnectedness, and community resilience.
Bigger Priority — Organic or Local?
Neither. And both. First and foremost, a diet rooted in whole foods is enough. When one bases their diet in fresh fruits & veg, whole grains & beans, and other whole foods, you are doing something that is good for your body, and good for the planet. Side note 1: If you can also integrate some local and organic foods, this is another level of goodness! Side note 2: Chocolate/Licorice/Cookies are key too!
What is your approach to community development?
From one seed, an entire orchard can grow. So, I shall be the healthiest seed I can be!
What are your other interests?
I take great pleasure from time with my daughters Ayla and Hannah, wife Terri, parents, brothers, and 17 nieces and nephews! I also LOVE to preserve the farm harvest. From spring to summer, I spend every available moment canning (tomato sauce, apple sauce, apple butter), drying (mint, rosemary, hot peppers), freezing (pesto, zucchini, berries), and storing (garlic, onions, winter squash.) I’m also an exercise junkie, and love to play baseball, tennis, golf, and go on bike rides with my daughters.