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#PlantitForward into Summer

Promoting #PlantitForward on Rogers Daytime Ottawa Promoting #PlantitForward on Rogers Daytime Ottawa
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It’s been a gorgeous summer so far. A good mix of hot and cool temperatures, rain and lots of sunshine have made this year’s planting of herbs and vegetables a dream here at the foodiePrints household.

While Don and I have always planted our own crops of food, this year we really got into it thanks to the #PlantitForward initiative from Kashi Canada. The Kashi Plant it Forward campaign 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. Through the #PlantItForward program, Kashi will have planted or seeded 13,000 edible plants, harvested 7,000 pounds of food and trained 1,750 Canadians in urban agriculture techniques. Over 10,000 people will be engaged with urban gardens and 100 volunteers, including 12 volunteer leaders, will have been enlisted.

Kashi survey data

Kashi survey data

And while Kashi Canada provided some delicious cereals and cereal bars for breakfast and organic seeds for our garden, I eagerly embraced the #PlantitForward campaign upon discovering my students’ lack of understanding how food is grown. When asked where fruits and vegetables come from, for many, their first instinct was the grocery store.

This year, planting our garden was a bit of a challenge. We took a gamble and decided to start our seedlings outdoors before the Victoria Day weekend. Suffice to say, many of our young tender plants did not survive the frost.

But we managed to re-start many plants and added some more variety to our garden.

Start your seeds indoors in a cereal box until ready for outdoor planting

Start your seeds indoors in a cereal box until ready for outdoor planting

Growing our own food has always been very satisfying and relaxing. Not only is it a great way for Don and I to spend time together, but it has also attracted some of the neighbourhood children. For them, seeing food planted and growing before their eyes has been a wonderful education. It teaches children patience while also helping them develop an important life skill. A couple of girls have been eyeing my red cherry tomato plants, hoping that they can soon pluck a few cherry tomatoes to snack on while running through the sprinkler. (Hopefully there will be some left for me to eat!) And when children are invested in the planting and caring process, they are more likely to try new foods.

Of course, with the rising costs of food and the focus on eating healthy nutritious food, you can’t go wrong with growing your own fruits and vegetables.

While we might already be halfway through July, it’s never too late to start gardening. You don’t need to be an expert and you don’t necessarily need a plot of land. Depending on what you want to plant, pots of all sizes will do just fine. Simply place your pot or pots in a nice sunny spot, whether it is on your balcony or by a window.

Herb garden: (L-R) summer savory, basil, thyme, and sage

Herb garden: (L-R) summer savory, basil, thyme, and sage

Herb garden: (L-R) oregano, dill, Thai basil, cilantro, Vietnamese coriander

Herb garden: (L-R) oregano, dill, Thai basil, cilantro, Vietnamese coriander

Young kale plants and garlic chives

Young kale plants and garlic chives

Garden in progress

Garden in progress

Looking for the first tomatoes of the season

Looking for the first tomatoes of the season

It’s been fun seeing my husband gleefully harvesting the herbs, snipping leaves as needed for the meals we cook. And while we don’t want summer to end, we’re also looking forward to benefitting from our hard work come fall.

Now, I just need to keep my plants safe from a family of squirrels!

Share Your Garden Adventures
foodiePrints and Kashi Canada would love to see photos of you getting your hands dirty planting fresh food. Get your family and friends involve too. Share your photos using the #PlantitForward hashtag on Twitter (@Kashi_CA) or on the Kashi Canada Facebook page.

To learn more about the Plant It Forward initiative and Kashi’s latest product offerings, please visit Kashi.ca

In the meantime, let’s see how many vegetables these kids can identify!

Teacher by day and blogger by night, I have always been passionate about food. I grew up watching my mother cook and bake as I sat at the kitchen table doing my homework. In the summers, I happily played in the backyard garden, picking strawberries as my parents tended their crops. A city girl with a love for the outdoors, my goal is to capture the ever-changing Ottawa food scene. When I’m not running, you can find me shopping for ingredients or in the kitchen cooking for my family and friends. Whether you’ve been cooking for a long time or are learning to cook for the first time, I hope you will find something delicious here to inspire you.