I grew up in rural Alberta where every house had at least one vegetable garden. My four siblings and I still grow at least some of our own food. Today, my own garden is a testament to how much time I think about food. I grow it. I cook it. I preserve it. I eat it and I share it. As a master gardener, I also study it. Most of my volunteer work involves improving access to food for those who don’t have enough.
My own yard includes large vegetable beds, fruit trees, a green-house, a row of 5-gallon pails with tomatoes and a deck where I grow lettuce and basil in DIY passive hydroponic tubs. My garden is a labour of love. I read Laudato Si' as a call to make the world a better place from the soil up. That’s what I try to do in my yard; to nurture the sacred gift of creation. All of those warm feeling aside, I am annoyed when I hear people say that vulnerable, food-insecure Calgarians should be growing their own food. In June, I picked more than 350 slugs off seven grown-from-seed Savoy cabbages. The task was every bit as disgusting as one might imagine. Three weeks later, some root-eating worm destroyed one head. Gardening is a tough business!
Written by Joy Gregory, a parishioner of St. Peter's Parish, Calgary