Home Grown 

Trying to cut food miles one veggie at a time

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After visiting Stefan and Nic Butler’s farm back in April and witnessing the positive impact they were having on the local food supply in Squamish for the “On the Farm” feature, my wife and I pondered to ourselves how feasible it would be for us to try and grow some of our own food over the course of the summer.

Given the alarming distances that the food we consume travel and how out of touch most of us have become with our food and how it reaches our tables, we decided to take on the challenge and conduct our own little experiment. Food these days seem to be better travelled than even the most avid of travellers.

Having never grown anything other than mold on bread and with a condo balcony facing Kybers as our only growing area it would be an ambitious undertaking filled with trials and tribulations.

Starting slightly late into the growing season, we headed down to the garden center in Function Junction and armed ourselves with two bags of organic top soil and an overabundant variety of seeds for our first attempt, including peas, beans, parsley, chives, radishes, cherry tomatoes, ball carrots and zucchini.

Setting up a rustic garden consisting of large Styrofoam boxes available at any local restaurant serving fresh fish and wooden wine crates from the liquor store we began to carefully plant our tiny seeds in rows separated by what we figured would grow best together.

After around a couple weeks of watering our mini garden began to come to life with a variety of different shaped sprouts searching out the best angles to the sun. This whole gardening thing appeared to be a breeze!

As the weeks went it on however, it became evident that we had clearly over crowded our planting boxes and while everything continued to grow it was clear that some major thinning would be required for the plants to produce anything. Who knew all those tiny seeds would turn into something?

As the sun continued to shine the plants began to bloom into flower and the first glimpse of something edible came in the shape of pea pods, golden yellow zucchini flowers blossoming (great for stuffing with anything from seafood to veggies) and handfuls of fresh herbs sprouting like weeds.

It was without a doubt a rewarding experience to be able to consume some of our own home grown produce, seeing it grow from tiny seeds into something nourishing to both the body and mind. Herbs especially were a useful item, and just being able to take what was needed as they are often expensive in the grocery store and a large bunch is rarely needed or utilized before it begins to wilt.

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