In the long, cold winter months, locally-grown fresh greens on a dinner plate can seem like a distant dream.
But a new program frp, The Working Centre in Kitchener is making those greens a reality.
The centre has started a community supported agriculture (CSA) share where members can purchase pea shoots, broccoli and wheatgrass grown in the centre's greenhouse, located on Lancaster St.
Adam Kramer, who works the greenhouse for the Working Centre, said that in the past they have sold the microgreens and wheatgrass to local stores and and a restaurant. But, he said people have asked to buy the greens directly and the centre likes connecting customers with the farmer.
"If you're supporting a local farmer, the dollars are staying in your community, the freshness and flavour are likely better and I think for us, establishing those relationships between our customers and us, the producer, those are so central to people really understanding where their food comes from, being able to ask questions," he said.
Microgreens are just-sprouted baby vegetables that have a high concentration of nutrients. Wheatgrass is often used by people who drink juices to add protein and minerals to their daily diet.
For $8, those buying the shares will get three clamshells of greens.
The greens are grown by volunteers, Kramer said, joking they do see more people wanting to go from the cold winter weather to the warmth of a greenhouse.
"We always get a lot of demand for volunteers this time of year," he said.
The Working Centre is a non-profit group that supports community projects in KW. Part of that is the greenhouse and market garden, which Kramer says are a teaching spaces where volunteers can give and get advice.
"People can come and share the knowledge they have about sustainable food production and also learn about that. In terms of our volunteers, some of them are real experts in gardening and growing and others are very new to it," he said.
Support for local projects
Kramer said the new fresh greens shares are in addition to other winter shares, including a baked goods one and a coffee share, where the beans are roasted at the centre's Queen St. Commons Cafe in downtown Kitchener. They also run a summer CSA program with a full selection of vegetables.
"This is just one more chance for people to support these volunteer community-minded projects and also enjoy fresh, local greens or vegetables throughout the year," he said.