Grow a Row for those in hunger
By Chad Ingram
If you’re a gardener, perhaps consider dedicating a row in your garden for planting produce to go to the county’s food banks this summer.
The local incarnation of the national program Grow a Row has a number of partner organizations including the Central Food Network, the Minden Community Food Centre, the 4Cs, SIRCH, the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Haliburton County FoodNet, the Haliburton Highlands Community Garden Network, the Haliburton County Farmers’ Association and Abbey Gardens.
“The initiative is new to the county,” Kate Hall, a public health food worker with the health unit, told the Times. “Some people have been donating informally for a couple years but this was the first year that we’ve actively promoted growing extra for donation.”
Hall suggested that vegetables people are familiar cooking with, such as carrots, cucumbers, beans and squash, would likely be the most preferable for donation.
According to the health unit, 13.5 per cent of households within its jurisdiction are food insecure, meaning there is not always enough money to purchase an adequate amount of food. This is higher than the provincial rate of 11 per cent. Also, 50 per cent of people of all ages within the health unit’s area are not getting enough fruit and vegetables in their diets.
According to information provided by the health unit, PROOF Food Insecurity Project and Food Secure Canada, 58 per cent of low-income earners struggle to put food on the table, sometimes skip meals in order to pay bills, and often can only afford less healthy food. The cost to healthily feed a family of four in Haliburton County for a month is estimated at $882.
“It can be very difficult for people living in poverty to meet their nutritional needs,” reads a release from the health unit. “Being in the lowest income group can increase a person’s risk of getting chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers.
“When we grow and donate food for ourselves and local food banks, we reduce food waste, decrease pollution and protect the environment in the Haliburton Highlands.”
It is estimated that 40 per cent of all food produced in Canada is wasted, or approximately $31 billion worth of food every year.
Donated garden veggies can be dropped off at the Minden Community Food Centre on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.; at the Haliburton 4Cs Food Bank on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; at the Highlands East Food Hub on Wednesdays and Fridays between 1 and 3 p.m.
At the Cardiff Food Bank, veggies can be dropped off from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on remaining Tuesdays. At the Kinmount Food Bank, veggies can be dropped off two Thursdays a month between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and more information can be found by calling 705-455-3060. At the SIRCH Community Kitchen, please call 705-457-1742 to arrange to drop off donated vegetables.