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Gardening, good for you and your budget

Quesnel Climate Action Group is looking to entice more residents to play in the dirt
Time to start planning your garden.

Carrots and peas picked just outside the back door, enough  strawberries and raspberries in your freezer for smoothies all winter, jars of salsa and pickles in the pantry  – these things may sound like they require far too much labour, or space or knowledge, but, in fact, they are all possible with a moderate amount of effort.

Our grandparents gardened because it was a necessity.  Our parents were awed by the cheap fruit and vegetables available in the supermarkets and the opportunity to buy cucumbers in December and avocados and mangos from thousands of kilometres away.

But, ‘cheap’ is not the term we would use to apply to our grocery bill today at any of the local supermarkets.  According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, food prices are the highest they have ever been and are going to get higher.

They predict a food crisis this year due to droughts and world grain stocks are at their lowest point ever.

Unlike places like Kenya and Egypt, your supermarkets will still have plenty of food on the shelves, but you might not like the prices.

What can you do about it?

There is a movement across North America and certainly in Quesnel, to connect with local farmers and buy local produce. If you take a quick walk through the Farmers’ Market on any Saturday morning in August you can buy squash and tomatoes, jams and salsa, lamb chops and pepperoni.

Every year, more and more vendors join the market as they discover people really do want to buy their locally produced carrots and pickles.

Many of us are turning to food gardening to solve that problem and many more. We want to feed our families with produce that is free of chemicals and travels only a few metres to reach our table.  We want to reduce our food budget by growing our own vegetables, picking local apples that no one seems to want and perhaps raising a few chickens in an unused shed.

The questions are always, “Where do I start?  How do I begin when I know very little and have grass everywhere?”

We, the members of the community garden, would like to help.  We will be interviewing your gardening neighbours and friends to learn their secrets to successful food production in Quesnel.

Look for future articles to read their stories.  In June we will be organizing “Food Garden Tours” so we can see for ourselves how they do it. The schedules will be presented here by the beginning of June.

If you know anyone with a productive garden, large or small, please contact us and we will be pleased to interview them and/or put them on our list of places to visit.

Phone Colleen Gatenby, at 250-747-4630 or email,

– submitted by Colleen Gatenby