It never ceases to amaze me how much opportunity there is out there for folks when it comes to local food – un-elitist, accessible-to-all, free, local food. This organization might take the cake. They are a cooperative of volunteers who farm vegetables and fruit on land owned by the University of Alberta. They seed as a group, weed as a group, harvest as a group, and share the bounty. I’ve often driven by the University farm, parked smack dab in the middle of the city – acres upon acres of extremely valuable real estate – and wondered why the heck they were growing conventional grain crops. Research, I get it, but can that kind of research not be done a half-hour out of the city where land is a fraction of the cost? Can these hundreds of acres of surviving agricultural land in the center of our city not be feeding people? How about feeding students at least?
As it turns out, one of the ways the UofA is innovating the use of this land gold-mine is by allowing the Edmonton Organic Grower’s Guild to farm it. For free. Not only is rent free, they supply composted manure from their cattle operation down the road, spread and till it, and give EOGG grant money to buy seed and tools. Astonishing. So who, might you ask, must you be, or who must you know to be so fortunate as to get an opportunity to farm such a precious piece of land that’s a short walk from an LRT station? It’s open to anybody. Yes, condo dwellers living downtown, you no longer have a good excuse in my mind to not be growing your own veg. What an opportunity. My hat’s off to the UofA.