Harvest at the U of R!

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A bountiful crop yield for Carmichael Outreach

Author: britin cote – contributor

Volunteers picking vegetables and working the patch! / Alec Salloum

Volunteers picking vegetables and working the patch! / Alec Salloum

At some point or another, every student has walked by the garden patch behind the library and probably just walked on by, not realizing what exactly that plot of land is doing for others. On Sept. 16, RPIRG hosted their green patch harvest celebration, where on- and off-campus volunteers gathered under the blazing sun to collect this year’s yield. The gardeners where assisted by the program’s main recipients, the Carmichael Outreach, an organization that continues the cycle of goodwill by providing free meals and services to the public.

Anna Dipple, executive director of RPIRG, was present at the harvest. The garden has been harvested for the past three years. The plot consists of three vegetable patches, in which basically anything that can grow in Saskatchewan is planted.

When asked what they grow, Dipple lit up and started to list off all their produce.

“Cucumbers, lettuce, kale, chard, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli.” The list continues with “potatoes, brussel sprouts, squash, sunflowers, beets, artichokes, corn, peas, beans, tomatoes, hot peppers and bell peppers; pretty much anything you could think of”.

This season saw the introduction of hops to its variety, a wall climbing plant used to flavour beer. Could this potentially lead to our own U of R alcoholic beverage? This writer is hopeful. If anyone can remember what the beginning of September was like temperature wise, it’s understandable that since school has started pre-semester life feels like a distant past, frost was a threat to all plants and produce.

“We lucked out. We were able to harvest most of our kind of more tender vegetables, so our tomatoes, our lettuce, and everything like that”, said Dipple.

She even went on to give us a fun fact of the day.

“Any root vegetables are fine with frost, often carrots even sweeten.” The more you know.

Some might ask what the educational values of the garden are.

 Better than any lecture, a sociology class drops by for a “fieldtrip” to give a more hands-on experience while learning about food systems.

Very special young helpers came by this year from Awasis daycare on campus and learned all about where their food comes from and even helped plant the onions. Better get them in the sun before they have cellphones.

Two-thirds of the crop is given to Carmichael. They will go on to distribute the vegetables as warm meals for those who need it most. The other third is given to the volunteers themselves. Nick Olson is the food recovery program coordinator, and his main mission is to be as creative as possible when planning future meals. A wide menu of nutritious dishes can be created with the organic produce ranging from tomato sauce and zucchini pasta dishes, but the most popular dishes are soups that usually feature the garden’s potatoes. Nick goes on to mention the increasing need for the program, as many Regina residents find themselves in tough financial positions due to high cost of living, and that any donations are going to a good cause and are appreciated.

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