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  • Jenna Trollope

Grow Your Food

It will improve your health and your wealth.

A man and 2 kids growing food in a garden outside

We have all felt the strain in our wallets when we fill up our gas tanks or visit the grocery store. In 2022, Canadian food prices increased more than we had seen since the 1980s, with vegetable prices rising over 12%. In addition, approximately 1 in 5 Canadians are food insecure, with children making up a third of Food Bank clients*.

With wages not keeping up with inflation, it may be time to grow food for your community. It can be as small as a herb garden against your kitchen window or as large as your backyard will allow, but you will have the freshest and best-tasting produce grown right at home!

Aside from the financial benefits of growing your food at home, the fresh produce you grow will taste better and have more nutrients than groceries you pick up in the store. You control what goes into the soil so you can prevent any toxins and pesticides from going anywhere near your food and into your body. On average, North American food has travelled up to 4000 km to get to your plate*. By growing your food, you are effectively eliminating the carbon footprint to transport food to your kitchen. You also reduce your carbon even further by sequestering carbon in your garden.

Grocery store produce is picked early to allow it to ripen during transport and in-store. When you grow your veggies, you control when to harvest them. You can snack on fresh peas whenever you are outside or collect herbs as you need them for cooking. You create less food waste because you only pick what you need, and you can freeze or can your surplus to keep for the winter season. Another benefit is any food waste you usually throw into your garbage or green bin can now be composted to add more fuel for next year. This means less household garbage on your curb and the cheapest nutrition for your soil. Your produce will be fresher than anything you find in store and they will have far more nutritional value. You will have the healthiest, best-tasting produce while you reduce your impact on the climate.

Whether you live in a small urban apartment, or out in the country with lots of green space to convert into gardens, you can always make it work on a budget. You can have small pots just for cooking herbs, or create larger ones to grow peppers and tomatoes co-planted with herbs for cooking to add more flavour to the fruits of your labour. For the love of spices, you can grow basil around your tomato plants. Many areas have local garden and agriculture clubs, so you can get involved and create a local community garden to educate others on growing food and help supply your local food network using grants and other government funding.

If you are looking for a little more colour in your life, you can throw a few local varieties of flowers. The bright colours warm up your space and they also support the local bee populations to thrive while pollinating your produce for the best results.

I would love to hear what you are growing this season, so please share your photos and reach out to if you have any questions.

To find out your local plant zone in Ontario, click here or visit the following link in your browser:


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