Eating seasonal, local produce a good option for residents cutting down on plastics

Buying food from local farms a good way to reduce packaging waste while supporting local business

Downtown Victoria offers a handful of zero-waste stores, but Saanich residents have to travel to shop there. So what options exist in Saanich for locals who want to reduce the amount of waste they produce via food shopping in the new year?

Jeremy Cardonna, a sessional academic at the University of Victoria in the Human Dimensions of Climate Change program, said buying food from farms in Saanich is a good way to reduce food packaging waste while also supporting local businesses. He said local farms typically use less or no packaging for the food they sell.

Cardonna also said eating seasonal foods as much as possible can help. Food that’s in season, such as root vegetables in winter, is easier to find and grow locally. He said farmer’s markets are another place locals can look for seasonal, locally grown, organic and not packaged produce, though this might still require a car trip.

READ ALSO: How to have an eek-o-friendly Halloween: buy bulk candy and get creative

Another option available to Saanich residents is growing their own food. This can be done on their own properties or at community gardens if they do not have enough space or the right permit to grow the produce they want at home.

One such community garden is the Agnes Street Community Gardens at 621 Agnes St. in Glanford Park. Cathy Wetton, the president of the Agnes Street Gardeners’ Association, said the gardens have been operating for over 40 years since 1976. During that time, Wetton said the area has become more urban and demand for plots in the gardens has risen.

“New gardeners are assigned a 500 square foot plot which requires considerable effort to cultivate, plant, water, weed, and harvest. Successful gardeners can request a second 500 square foot garden plot to grow larger crops,” Wetton said. She said new gardeners pay a one-time $10 membership fee, then $30 per year for the 500 square foot plot or $60 for 1,000 square feet. She said there are rules to follow but gardeners, for the most part, are relatively free to plant the crops they want.

Wetton said there is now a three or more year waitlist for plots at the garden, but they also have a free food table located near the parking lot at Glanford Park. The association asks gardeners to place extra produce on the table rather than throwing it away, and local park users or residents are welcome to take produce for free from the table. For more information, visit agnesstreetgardens.ca/index.html.

Laurie Jones, a long-time coordinator with the Gorge Tillicum Urban Farmers and the community gardens in Gorge Park, said neighborhood connections can create spaces for local food security including eliminating packaging waste. She said learning how to grow vegetables, supporting local growers, and demanding or encouraging zero waste initiatives could also help reduce the carbon footprint of the food we eat.

Jones noted things that might keep people from buying/growing locally or buying from zero-waste stores include time, transportation, and lack of education about gardening or community initiatives.

She also said Saanich needs more community gardens. Jones said the Gorge Park Community Gardens currently has a waitlist of approximately 50 people, and three years is a good guess at how long that list will take to get through. She said she sees possibilities for more community gardens in parks, on church lands, schools, or paved spaces; it’s just a matter of finding appropriate land and liaising with Saanich and the neighborhood.

READ ALSO: No-waste grocery stores not a garbage idea to help tackle food waste


Like us on Facebook and follow @yrlocaljourno

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

The secret life of tadpoles

Vancouver Island photographer Maxwel Hohn’s documentary traces the ‘big little migration’ of western toad tadpoles

Nanaimo country singer releases new music video

‘Adrenaline’ is the second single from Joel Lee’s upcoming debut EP

From Nanoose Bay to the bookshelf, Howard the Gnome now a children’s book

Vancouver Island author explores Howard’s move down-Island

Exploring the mystery of a scooter-free YYJ

Victoria should be a ‘no brainer’ for e-scooter program, say company executives

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Water supplies declared safe in wake of major tire fire near Ladysmith

Concerns about water quality arose after Sept. 10 scrap yard fire at Schnitzer near Nanaimo Airport

Hundreds march against location of Duncan safe injection site

A Voice for Our Children opposes centre being near schools, recreation sites

Suspect robs store, stabs clerk in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for suspect in Ryan Road incident

Metchosin inmate sentenced to 12 months in jail for escaping custody

Sentence to be served concurrent to a life sentence he was already serving

Accused in Makayla Chang’s murder sees next court date in October

Steven Michael Bacon faces first-degree murder charge in killing of Nanaimo teen

Conservation officers free fawn stuck in fence in Nanaimo

Fawn was uninjured after getting caught in fence in Hammond Bay area Wednesday

Nanaimo senior defrauded out of $14,000 in ‘grandson scam’

80-year-old victim was told her grandson was out-of-province and in legal trouble

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read