'Grow a Row' to help feed the hungry

By Tanya Cronin
June 7, 2016 - 4:26pm Updated: June 7, 2016 - 5:37pm

KAMLOOPS — For those who love to garden, this season you're being asked to share your passion - literally. 

The Grow a Row project in Kamloops, headed up by Lyons Landscaping, is encouraging residents tending to their gardens harvest, to grow some extra vegetables to help feed hungry mouths in our city. 

The project will benefit non-profit agencies, particularly New Life Community Kamloops.

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At Lyons Landscaping, several plots are greening up. But this isn't just any regular vegetable garden, the food grown here holds special meaning, to help feed the hungry. 

"This is one of the things at the heart of everybody's agenda, it's food, and if everyone can eat healthy and actually get healthy food, we're going to have a stronger community," says Colin Lyons, Owner of Lyons Landscaping.

There's squash, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and much more, and it's all part of the Grow a Row project. Lyons is encouraging people to get their hands dirty, and grow fresh veggies for those who need it most.  

"We always seem to grow a little bit more than we need, so it's not like you specifically have to grow another row, it's just let's use it properly and if you want to grow another row, we would love that."
Grow a Row is in support of New Life Community Kamloops, where the kitchen is constantly busy.

"We're always making all kinds of vegetables and stews and vegetables are so important, anything extra we always put out, we'll put it out on a table somewhere and people can come in and take what they need or want," says Stan Dueck, Executive Director of New Life Community Kamloops.            

Serving 100 clients a day, 7 days a week, the demand at New Life is non-stop, and food donations are vital.

"Just to give you an example, Friday is our grocery day and I see $3,000 coming out of our account, just to cover the groceries for the week, and that number goes up and down a bit, but our numbers are higher than ever."

Fresh food is important to have available to ensure dietary needs are met, but it's not always affordable. The Kamloops Food Bank sees that first hand, and says the more the community gets involved in growing produce, the healthier everyone can become.

"It creates this energy in our city of compassion, of generosity, of giving back and it's such an easy thing for people to do, so for people who like to garden it gives them a purpose to supporting the greater community as well," says Bernadette Siracky, Executive Director of Kamloops Food Bank.

So as green thumbs in Kamloops head out into their backyards to tend to their gardens harvest, take the time to grow a row of extra vegetables, vegetables that will make a big difference.

"Grow something you haven't grown before, or something you think someone else would like, we're growing a variety of goodies here just to show it can be done, you can do it from veggie starts, or you can do it from seeds, the biggest thing is just give it a try," says Lyons. 

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