From the light crunch of lettuce to the earthy flavours of sweet basil, the Regina food bank’s greenhouse is not only producing fresh food, but also putting people back in touch with where their food comes from.
“Growing our own food as a food bank is a really good way to look at what we do on a bigger scale and provide not only fresh food but also education to the clients and community about where food comes from, what it looks like, what it smells like, what it tastes like,” she said.
The greenhouse launched its Four Seasons Urban Agriculture Project earlier this year, using garden towers. The technology has multiple towers that are similar to barrels, each with 72 pockets from which food can be grown.
The centre of each tower is filled with compost which is produced by red wriggler worms, who live in bins at the greenhouse. These worms are fed waste the food bank won’t be using, with the worms converting 31 kilograms of inputs each week into fertilizer. This fertilizer in turn is fed back into the garden towers as nutrients for the plants.
“It’s vertical gardening and indoor growing. Controlled environments are definitely a popular thing right now,” said Wenger.
In the launch of its outreach program, students from five schools learned all about the garden tower, with the food bank delivering students with their own garden towers and all the materials they would need to grow food in their own classrooms through the year.
For herself, Wenger said she’s learned a lot about gardening since getting involved in the greenhouse project.