Blackfalds Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) has come up with a creative, space-conscious and economical way to feed the community by converting the space around the building to accommodate fresh food with their ‘One Seed at a Time’ project.
One Seed at a Time is an FCSS program that has grown out of a desire to bring fresh, affordable food to clients of the food bank and to educate members of the community on the ease of growing one’s own food.
“The project started out of need for the low income and those who are utilizing the food bank. We were trying to be a little bit more proactive in how we think about how to feed the hungry in our community,” said Karie Ackermann of the Blackfalds FCSS.
“The garden was a great idea because it’s very easy to show people how to grow nutritious food at a low cost. Seeds are not a huge cost for those who are on low subsidy programs, so they can afford potato seeds and carrot seeds and things like that.”
Two raised beds have been constructed and planted, along with flowerbeds being utilized for strawberries and raspberries. As well, an herb garden has been planted and fruit trees have been seeded to the west of the FCSS building.
As well, a local farmer has set aside three rows of potatoes on his farm to use for the Blackfalds FCSS.
All people in the community are welcome to volunteer some time in the gardens to learn a little bit more about how to grow their own food. The harvest of the beds will be used to feed clients of the food bank fresh food.
“As our community grows, we also see the need grow with different things. The garden is an educational piece.
“It’s going to teach kids, and parents and community members how to grow their own food. We have the opportunity to work with the horticulturalist that we have on staff at the Town of Blackfalds who has a wealth of knowledge in plants and how to grow them,” Ackermann said.
“People aren’t just getting the vegetable section of it, but they’re going to learn how perennials work and long-term things. Like rhubarb – if you plant it once, you can harvest it every year. The same with chives – you can benefit for however long that you have them.
“That’s the same with raspberries and strawberries and the fruit trees. By doing it this year, putting the work in and spending the money, that’s something we can benefit from in other years.”
Ackermann said one of the reasons she was excited about the way the garden is organized is that it demonstrates the ability to grow various foods in small spaces. This translates well into becoming an easy step for homeowners to take into growing their own foods.