Ready, Set, Grow!

Help us reach our goal of 10,000 lbs this year by donating some of your harvest to Grow A Row! Our volunteers deliver all donations directly to shelters, service organizations, and hot meal programs in our community.  Farmers, when you donate to Grow A Row, you are eligible for a 25% tax credit for donations given. With more that 15% of Kingston’s population living below the poverty line, your generosity is sincerely appreciated. Please contact us at info@lovingspoonful.org or 613-546-4291 ext. 1871 for more information on Grow A Row. 

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Renewable Energy wins the Workplace Challenge!

Presentation of the 2012 Workplace Challenge Award to Renewable Energy of Plum Hollow. From left to right: Jason Wamboldt, Tilley the Wonder Dog, Amanda Ducharme, Suzanne Bodner (co-coordinator of GAR), Joshua Brennan, Daniel Creighton, Trish Van Huesen (co-coordinator of GAR) and Rodney Etienne

At the beginning of the 2012 growing season, Loving Spoonful’s Grow A Row program launched a “Workplace Challenge”, inviting Kingston-area businesses and organizations to participate in a friendly competition to see which one could contribute the most fresh produce to the Grow A Row campaign.

On Wednesday, November 28, Grow a Row announced that Renewable Energy of Plum Hollow were the big winners, growing and donating 118.9 pounds of produce!  Early in the Spring, Renewable Energy of Plum Hollow employees germinated locally-sourced seeds in containers on their window sills and then transplanted the seedlings into raised beds which they had built in front of their office on Dalton Avenue. One of the owners, Daniel Creighton, tell us that all of the employees contributed in some way, from choosing the produce that was to be grown, to planting and watering the beds over the
summer. Renewable Energy of Plum Hollow was rewarded with a bountiful harvest which included radishes, onions, kale, cucumbers, three kinds of potatoes and five kinds of tomatoes, as well as more exotic vegetables including kohlrabi, Marion rutabagas, and Purple Dragon carrots.

Joshua Brennan, the coordinator of the garden at Renewable Energy, expressed gratitude to all those involved, citing the project as a rewarding experience, as well as a positive method of contributing to the community.  Employees who took part this season have eagerly committed to participating in the Grow a Row Workplace Challenge next year.  With their prize of a gift certificate for heirloom seeds from Edible Antiques, we at Grow A Row, hope to encourage them to keep on growing!

Other 2012 Workplace Challenge contributors included Intercall Canada, Downtown Kingston, the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, and the Kingston and the Islands Federal Liberal Association.  We hope that more organizations will follow their lead and participate in the 2013 Workplace Challenge. The Workplace Challenge not only helps to create a bountiful harvest for Kingstonians in need, but it also a builds a spirit of generosity and connectedness in the workplace.

Featured Grower – Patchwork Gardens

Patchwork Gardens, a collaboration of two farm families, Megan Joslin, Ian Stutt and their son Sam, together with Julie and Eric Williams and their sons Liam and Colin, supply fresh, organically grown produce to the Kingston Market.  They also operate a CSA (weekly food box), a winter CSA, and supply Tara Natural Foods, Old Farm Fine foods, as well as a host of wonderful Kingston and area restaurants.

Megan, Ian and Eric, are familiar faces at the downtown Kingston market.  In addition to spreading the feeling they have for the exciting flavours of homegrown food, they are actively involved in helping develop a vibrant local food system.  They host workshops at their farm on the essentials of growing, processing and preserving locally grown food and they regularly contribute fresh produce to the Grow A Row initiative.

Megan Joslin explains the symbiotic relationship between Grow A Row and other market vendors like Patchwork Farms , ‘We grow a large variety of foods on our farm so we’re really busy.  In the years before Grow A Row was in place, we’d bring our produce to the market and find that, at the end of the day we had some things we didn’t want to pack up and bring home and yet, we did.  Now, at the end of the day, any produce we haven’t sold we can donate instead.’

We at Grow A Row want to share our enthusiasm for Patchwork Gardens.  At the end of most market days, Megan, Ian or Eric arrive at the Grow A Row table with a bountiful donation of fresh organically grown produce.  Their beautiful mixed salad greens, heads of lettuce, kale and chard have become favorites at the tables of those in need.

Featured Grower – Honey Wagon Farms

Sandi and Ed Taylor are a retired couple whose love of nature as well as
meeting and chatting with people led them into new careers of maple syrup
production and market gardening. For over ten years, they have been
devoting their time and energies to both these ventures at their farm-gate
operation, Honey Wagon Farms, located just outside of Picton in Prince
Edward County.

Sandi and Ed are familiar and friendly faces at the downtown market. They
enjoy sharing their knowledge. They take time to talk about the history and
flavour of the traditional and specialty vegetables they grow, and for those
more timid cooks, they are happy to provide cooking instructions.

Sandi and Ed donate regularly to Grow A Row, bringing their fresh produce,
grown without herbicides, fungicides or pesticides, to the tables of those in
need.

The numbers keep coming in! Thank’s to Vegetables Unplugged!

The growing season is coming to a close, but the donations to local meal programs is still on the rise!

On October 17th volunteers and staff from Loving Spoonful and Grow A Row collected 400 pounds of produce leftover from the fields of  Vegetables Unplugged, a CSA on Wolfe Island.   This action, known as ‘gleaning’ is a win-win for the community.  It assists growers in the post season clean up of their fields and supplies fresh produce to local meal programs.

We encourage other commercial growers to contact us about gleaning their fields, and send a big THANK YOU to Vegetables Unplugged!

We’ve surpassed our goal!

Over 5500 pounds of fresh produce were delivered to Kingstonians in need! What a community effort! Thanks to our intrepid growers and to our hard-working volunteers in the field, at the markets, and in the kitchen. All of you contributed to making 2012 a great success. Your Grow a Row committee looks forward to connecting with you next year!

We are rapidly approaching our goal!

Thanks to the generous donations of fresh produce from market vendors, full-time farmers, backyard growers, community gardeners and those who’ve joined the Workplace Challenge; Grow A Row volunteers have collected and distributed more than 4000 pounds of fresh produce to date!

With the harvest just starting to come in, donations of late season vegetables such as squash, tomatoes potatoes and onions will bring us well on our way to our goal of 5,500 pounds.

Do you know someone who has too many tomatoes this year?  How about someone who’s made all the zucchini bread they can?  Tell them about us! We’re at the Downtown Market Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 – 4:15 and on Saturdays from 11 – 4:30.  We’re also at the Memorial Centre Market on Sundays from 2 -4.

GROW A ROW VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION POT-LUCK

The Grow A Row Committee would like to invite all of our hard working volunteers and generous donors to come together to celebrate the variety of good work that we do to share our fresh harvest with those in our community who are in need.

We are gardeners who get our hands and knees dirty in the soil; we are individuals, farmers and market vendors who donate fruits, veggies and fresh food to the GAR program; we are volunteers who receive and tally up the donations at the markets; and we are drivers who deliver our fresh product to local shelters and meal programs.

Come and join the GAR staff and meet your fellow volunteers for a CELEBRATORY POT-LUCK at Oak Street Community Garden, TUESDAY AUGUST 28, 5 PM to 7PM.  Please bring a chair and a food item to share.  Rain date is the following Tuesday, September 4th same place and time.  We hope to see you there!

For Directions:

Featured Grower: Emily Dowling of Root Radical

Emily heard about Loving Spoonful when it was first forming in 2008 through one of the founding organizations, the National Farmer’s Union. She and her partner, Aric were interested in how farmers could participate and connect with people in low-income situations to receive shares of fresh produce.


At their farm, Root Radical, a ‘sliding scale’ is used to redistribute shares. People who are willing will pay a bit extra each season to go towards paying for a share that is a bit less expensive to fit more diverse budgets. They also received a donation from Queen’s Oxfam organization towards this important initiative.

This season they are growing over 30 different crops and feeding 150 families! Emily believes that other community-shared-agriculture farmers would also be interested in such an endeavor, it’s just a matter of how to make it sustainable for the farmers. Having an organization like Loving Spoonful to coordinate the deliveries and donations makes it more feasible.


Food stamps are not a sustainable way to get by, Emily says, and even more than a priority task of government, food security should be built into our society. The farmers at Root Radical are doing their part to make healthy, local food more accessible to members of their community!

Featured Growers: Kathleen Pratt and Roman Moretti

Kathleen Pratt and Roman Moretti live  just off of Montreal St. near John Counter Blvd. They have decided to turn their lovely home into a resource that can be shared by many through expanding their front and backyard gardens. This year they are hoping to donate some of their produce to the Grow a Row campaign to be delivered to charities in Kingston.

A social worker and pharmacist by trade, both are concerned for their community and planet and want to do their part to make food more accessible. “Everyone should have access to healthy food” they say, but they also realize that time is a luxury that not many can afford, and gardening takes time. Community-shared-agriculture is a great solution to food insecurity in their opinion, as more of a “hand-up” than a “hand-out”.

Kathleen and Roman have endeavored in some fun experiments in their garden this year. For example, in one plot they planted half of the carrots on their own and half of them with their companions- leeks- to see which half grows better. Reading up on gardening books and getting advice from neighbours, they have managed to expand their garden to most of the front-yard, backyard, and even the driveway! They have just decided to get rid of their car this year as a commitment to the environment. The front-yard garden has really promoted community development, as it has attracted neighbours to stop by and see what’s going on, rather than just passing by as usual.

Despite challenges of gardening and not being 100% sure that they will get the results they are hoping for, they are putting the effort in and it is much appreciated!