Metropolis Farm harvests recent produce destined for Edmonton’s Meals Financial institution
A farm in the city of Edmonton grows fresh, local produce for the Edmonton people who need it most.
The City Farm was launched in the summer of 2020 and was a pilot run by the city to provide food to Edmonton residents who suffered distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The farm is located in the Old Man Creek Nursery on urban land north of Sherwood Park.
Vegetables are grown, harvested and shipped to Edmonton’s Food Bank.
“In response to COVID, many people have experienced personal hardship or more difficulties than usual, so there is additional demand on the blackboard,” said Stacey Schultz, director of the city’s horticultural operations.
View | The vegetable farm hopes to expand the work into next year:
A farm in the city of Edmonton grows fresh, local produce for the Edmonton people who need it most
“What we can donate helps take some pressure off them.”
The land owned by the City of Edmonton is usually used for storing trees and shrubs.
Otherwise the fields on which the food is grown would be dormant. City gardeners took care of the land and the products. On average, there is a team of four whose main experience is not in vegetable production.
Swiss chard, carrots and zucchini
The city consulted the food bank to determine what products it would need.
This year the farm has grown a variety of summer squash, zucchini, kale, Swiss chard, carrots, corn, and winter squash for storage on five acres of land, up from 10 acres last year.
In 2020, the farm harvested 32,727 pounds of food and distributed it to several Edmonton organizations. To date, it has shipped over £ 25,000 of products to Edmonton’s Food Bank this year.
A worker at City Farm, a project run by the City of Edmonton, carries a crate of freshly harvested yellow pumpkin. (Nathan Gross / CBC)
Marjorie Bencz, executive director of the food bank, said the food bank is thrilled to have the additional fresh produce available for the many organizations it serves.
“It is a privilege to be able to distribute this food through our network of nearly 300 agencies, churches and food depots and to help those who are less fortunate,” said Bencz.
Products move fast – sometimes supplies only last a few days, especially given the increased demand that came with the pandemic.
“They have been bringing items in for the past few weeks and I think they still have a lot to harvest so everything is appreciated,” said Bencz.
Despite the hot and dry weather, said Schultz, the team is determined to achieve the same goals as last year.
“It was an amazing experience on so many levels,” she said.
“Everyone who has the privilege of training here feels personally connected to their community. Our goal is to provide service and support to the Edmonton people who need them most.”
Although this was a pandemic project, Schultz says they want to implement it into the 2022 work plan by the end of this season.