Edmonton Space Pandemic Planting Mission Grows Second Season – Edmonton

A garden project in the Edmonton area has returned for a second season to help those in need.

The Pandemic Planting Project began in 2020 as a method to give back to the Edmonton Food Bank.

“I call it therapy. It’s great for the mind and it’s great for the body, ”said farmer David Benjestorf.

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After the COVID-19 pandemic began in spring 2020, Benjestorf, who is also a lawyer and vice chairman of the Edmonton Food Bank, began to think about food insecurity. So he decided to do something about the problem by converting his 11 acre property in Sturgeon County, Alta. Into a large garden and started the project.

Benjestorf had never grown food before last year, but now he and a handful of volunteers are out and about in his garden every week.

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“I often called myself a lawyer – today I tend to call myself a farmer,” says Benjestorf. “I think it’s the noblest job, and that’s why I like to spend all of my free time out here.”


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Angie Turnbull is one of the volunteers who spent hours in the garden – time well invested, Turnbull said.

“Working alone in our beds and doing all these things is very therapeutic. It’s peaceful, ”she said.

“I try to get out as many weekends as possible – even during the week when it’s a nice night.”

READ MORE: The planting project grows nearly 100,000 pounds of potatoes for Edmonton’s Food Bank

Last year the project donated nearly 100 pounds of groceries to the Edmonton Food Bank.

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“When we saw the community hug us last year, it really was a breeze this year. The question was how much we would grow it, ”said Benjestorf.

Grow is the key word for what happened to the project this year. Benjestorf expanded his space – made space for herbs and vegetables.

In the field, production has increased by around 30 percent and a neighbor even donated two hectares to the cause.

“One of the most important things about the year last year was the community aspect,” said Benjestorf. “That’s why I wanted to create a place where volunteers can bring their family, friends and children.”

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Benjestorf said the response to the project has been greater than he originally expected, but he is grateful for the enthusiasm of the volunteers.

“It became so much more than just providing food for others,” he said. “It’s not just about a day at work or a volunteer shift, it’s about spending time with the group.”

“I love being part of things that give back and I thought it was a great initiative,” said Turnbull.

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It’s an initiative that helps feed the community and provide a great deal of fulfillment to Benjestorf and the volunteers.


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