Food banks getting vegetables harvested from NCC flowerbeds
Kale, beets planted amongst tulips in Confederation park pilot project
Food banks in the capital are getting hundreds of pounds of produce from a new, unlikely source: the National Capital Commission's flowerbeds.
For the first time, vegetables such as kale, beets and brussels sprouts were planted amongst the tulips at Ottawa's Confederation Park, ready for harvest from three flowerbeds this month.
They're going to be split between the Ottawa Food Bank and Moisson Outaouais, with hundreds of pounds of food coming out of the ground.
"My estimate... is we've harvested around 75 pounds of kale, the same amount of swiss chard, I figure there's maybe 50 to 100 pounds of beets and around the same amount of brussels sprouts," said Ottawa Food Bank community harvest coordinator Jason Gray on Tuesday.
"We'd love to see this replicated in other gardens on NCC lands, there is a lot of NCC land in the capital region so there's potential here for quite a large volume of food to be grown."
Tina Liu, who designs the NCC's flowerbeds, said she wanted to use vegetables with nice foliage that would fit in with the flowers.
She said the NCC wants to support sustainable living and urban agriculture, but the choice to extend the pilot project isn't theirs alone.
"It did require a different type of maintenance than our ordinary flower beds, we do have contract terms with our contractors… everybody's like, 'OK let's try it for the first year,'" she said.
"We will see in the future, if the opportunity comes we'd definitely try to do something to give back to the community."