Share the Land, Share the Food

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A little while ago, I came across this website for a program that runs in Toronto called Not Far From the Tree. The basic premise is that this group of volunteers goes around picking the fruit out of the yards of those who register on their site. They then divide the fruit 3 ways between themselves (as payment for their work), the owner and a charitable organization such as the food bank or a soup kitchen.

I thought this was a great idea since I myself have an apple tree and a grape vine that I rarely find the time to harvest and thus the majority of the fruit go to waste. I started to look into the possibility that Ottawa has such a program, and it kind of does.

Vegetable Patch operates a land sharing program within Ottawa’s city centre. The idea is that you offer up your unused land, they come in and make a totally organic garden and care for the plants all season long. In return, you get a weekly vegetable basket from the stuff grown in your yard and elsewhere around the city. Isn’t that great?

Having a program like this on campus would be fabulous. We already have planters all over campus. Would it be that much more difficult to plant edible plants instead of just decorative ones? We also have a lot of green space with shrubbery that could be replaces with berry bushes, gardens that could be home to carrots and potatoes, walls that could support grape vines. The possibilities go on and on!

The food produced on campus could be put to good use helping students and the community at large enjoy fresh, locally grown foods they may not be able to afford otherwise. Or I guess they could listen to their hungry bellies growl while they look at some generic bushes...

[On a side note, I contacted the fine folks at Vegetable Patch about my fruit and they said they would consider coming out to my place, which is not in the city centre, to pick my fruits next year YAY!]

Tiana []

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