It’s that time of year again – flowers are blooming to the envy of the rest of the country and Saanich gardeners are well on their way to growing blooms worthy of a ballad. But concern about food security on Vancouver Island is prompting some gardeners to rethink using their rich soil for a rhododendron bush or delicate pansies.
Food security is defined as the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Vancouver Island ranks low on that scale, as up to 95 per cent of our food is currently trucked over from the mainland and beyond each week.
But as with most crises, the solution lies in small behavioural changes that eventually catch on for mass adoption.
It’s not difficult to start an edible garden. Produce like kale, lettuce, leeks, spring onion and herbs go wild in the southern Island climate with only good soil, regular water and some sun.
The cost savings resulting from basic foods grown at home add up over the summer months as well. Try growing herbs for a month and the prices at the grocery store should make your eyes bulge for a sprig of rosemary or a few leaves of basil.
The Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable is doing great work to co-ordinate food producers, suppliers, municipalities and others with a focus on making sure we grow more local food and consume it on Vancouver Island.
But that large-scale work starts at home, where people are waking up to the fact that homegrown food makes economic and environmental sense.
Even if you buy an apple tree and have buyer’s remorse come the end of summer, organizations like LifeCycles Project Society (lifecyclesproject.ca) are there to help harvest your fruit for worthy organizations. It’s easier than you think – start eating good food at home and help increase our food security.