Saskatchewan

Regina students delivering garden kits during pandemic to foster food security

Tayef Ahmed said he knows what it's like to be hungry and wants youth to know where their food comes from.

Tayef Ahmed wants youth to know where their food comes from

(From left) Tayef Ahmed, Md Abdul Hossain, Mahnoor Tajik, Jamaluddin Sakib, Amy Mantyka and Tinsae Alemu are YOU should GARDEN volunteers and have been distributing seedlings to those in need. (University of Regina/Facebook)

Lots of people are in their gardens this time of year, but others don't know how to start their own or what to do one they have it started.

Now, some University of Regina students want to help. They've been delivering and planting seeds around the city to combat food insecurity.

"Gardening is something that I want to do and inspire people to do," Tayef Ahmed said.

Ahmed is the project manager for YOU should GARDEN, a U of R student run group started in December 2019. The group had planned workshops and more for 2020, but had to switch gears due to the pandemic. 

YOU should GARDEN has delivered more than 100 seedlings to people in need in Regina. (University of Regina/Facebook)

With more people are at home, Ahmed said the time is perfect to garden, but not everyone can afford to. 

"That's why we started," he said. "They think that it takes a lot of space, it takes a lot of money, it takes a lot of stuff to start a garden. But we wanted to just tell them 'Hey you don't need a lot of things, we're going to give you all the resources.'" 

So far the group has delivered more than 100 gardening bags with seedlings to people in the city and have online workshops to help people learn for free. They are sponsored by Souls Harbour Rescue Mission, FeedBank, the Regina Public Interest and Research Group, and UR Sustainability.

YOU should GARDEN prepares seedlings for delivery for people who could not afford to garden on their own. (University of Regina/Facebook)

Ahmed said food insecurity is a personal matter for him. 

"Growing up, I had a lot of problems with food insecurity," he said. "I had a lot of times, I didn't have enough food to eat, so I know what is the problem with the hunger. So that is one of the motivations."

Ahmed said he has gardened since he was a child. He said it helps with his severe anxiety and gets him to meet new people. 

"It's a boost to our physical health, a boost to our mental health," Ahmed said. "I feel calm every time." 

Canvas grow bags are donated to people by partnering with and being sponsored by Souls Harbour Rescue Mission, FeedBank, Regina Public Interest and Research Group, and UR Sustainability. (University of Regina/Facebook)

He said he hopes kids can get involved with their parents' gardens and connect with where their food comes.

"The one thing that I think is important in this time of pandemic is the understanding of our food resources," he said. "We need to grow our food. Focus on the food that is good for health, less expensive." 

With files from The Morning Edition

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