Weather-wise, May was a strange month. Hot summery temperatures were followed by cool brisk days and frosty nights. My principal raised her eyebrow when I turned up to work one day in shorts and a tank top, only to laugh when she noticed black dress pants and a tailored shirt over my arm.
We had two frost warnings. Don and I saw people walking around in their North Face jackets in the evenings. I had a few seedlings wither away during the second frost because I forgot to cover up my pots. I really should have stuck to my rule of starting my garden the weekend after Victoria Day. Thank goodness I had a few plants I had started indoors that I can later transfer outside.
That said, living in Ottawa and playing weather Russian Roulette with Mother Nature is the norm.
In early May, I was offered a great opportunity from Kashi Canada. Would I be interested in getting my hands dirty to take part in their #PlantitForward initiative? Kashi Plant it Forward is a partnership between Kashi and Evergreen, a national not-for-profit organization that inspires action to green cities. The goal of the campaign is to support and build community gardens across Canada so deserving communities can get closer to real food. Over the past two years, Kashi has contributed over $100,000 CAD to Evergreen’s Seeding Healthy Communities program.
As a food blogger and educator, this is something I support wholeheartedly. According to the Kashi Plant it Forward survey, not even half of Canadians have ever actually grown fresh produce (fruit or vegetables) or cared for them. Worse, one-third of Canadians have no plans to visit a farmer’s market or community garden this year.
But, what really sealed the deal for me were the responses of my grades 1 and 2 students when I posed the question, “Where do fruits and vegetables come from?” The most common responses were that food came in boxes and bags, usually from a store. Needless to say, I was horrified.
My parents were instrumental in instilling a love of food and gardening in me. I’m now on a mission to do the same.
You can participate in this great initiative too! Enter to win a delicious prize pack of Kashi products and seeds by sharing this super cute Kashi Little Farmers online video using the #PlantitForward hashtag. Please note that the contest is only open to Canadians. (My apologizes to our American and international readers!)
The prize pack contains two boxes of cereal (Go Lean Original and Quinoa Multigrain Flakes & Raisins) , two boxes of cereal bars (Seven Grain with Quinoa Bars – Chocolate Chip Chia and Seven Grain with Quiona Honey Oat Flax bars) and five packets of organic seeds (beets, carrots, spinach, red cherry tomato, and kale).
Both cereals are part of the new Non-GMO Project Verified products offerings this year. By the end of 2015, over half of all Kashi food will be Non-GMO Project Verified and that number will continue to grow.
As we are still eating our way through the samples of the prize pack, my husband and I really enjoyed the Quinoa Multigrain Flakes. It is quite tasty with milk and also on its own as a snack. Don felt it reminded him of his childhood, trying frosted flakes for the first time but without the high-fructose glucose or corn syrup. The cereal bars with the honey oat flax were also consumed quite quickly in our household, great for lunches and also as a quick snack to eat on the way to sports practice.
At this year’s Ottawa Race Weekend, I noticed the Kashi bars were among the most popular post-race food items for the marathon and half-marathon participants. I, along with my fellow runners could not resist grabbing a few. Thanks Farm Boy for feeding over 49,000 participants this year!