Category Archives: Volunteer

Summer Excitement!

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There’s so many awesome things happening on the farm right now, it’s hard to stay up to date! We’re about to break it down for you in this post!

Events & Volunteer Opportunities:

Grow Calgary is integrating itself heavily in events this summer! We have just completed an event packed stampede week, and we’re looking forward to what the rest of summer has in store for the Grow Team! More details about any of these events listed below can be found on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter Pages!

Every Saturday & Sunday: Family Open Farm Days, Microhome Construction, and Open Volunteer Hours, all happening at 1pm-4pm at the Grow Calgary farm site!

Sundays: Bee Hive Tours – We have partnered with ABC Bees to have hives on our farm to promote the health of bees as a species, and to aid us in successful crops! Come visit us on our farm site at 1-2pm, and 2-3pm for an exclusive bee tour!

If you wish to visit us at another time outside the allotted 1pm-4pm on Saturday or Sunday, please message us on any social media platform or email us at least 24 hours prior to your expected arrival! This allows for us to meet any required accommodations you may have, and ensure our amazing staff are expecting you on the farm!

Tuesday July 17th: YYC Free Market Event – We’re going to be boothing at this event, make sure you come on down and say hi to us! The project promotes accessible materials and sustainability! Hosted in Kensington, Calgary.

Saturday July 21st: Yoga at the Farm – Grow Calgary is hosting this event with the help of the wonderful yoga instructor, Candice Archer! It is going to be a morning of yoga, relaxation, farm learning, and community bonding! Event is on our farm from 9am-1pm, bring your own yoga mat, lunch, and family and/or friends!

August 3rd: Grow Calgary’s Biggest Event Ever! – We’re calling volunteers! If you are available from 11am-4pm on August 3rd and would like sign up information please fill out this google form! We are also hosting a volunteer orientation on July 29th in preparation for the event, which will include an exclusive farm tour! Google Form Link Here!

There will be another post with job opportunities coming soon! As well as updates on new and longstanding partnerships, microhome competition information, and first hand views at the farm lifestyle from our very own farm managers!

Earth Ship

The Future of Earth

Welcome to the Earthship, this is the first in urban Earthship which is modelled after a bigger one in the country and now there are many others have coloured the country side.

Grow Calgary is proud to have over 200,000 volunteers come out and join us in team building activities.

Earth Ship

This Earthship is made up of repurposed materials recycled tires, cans, and bottles that are the foundation of this awe striking building.

The inner and outer rooms of the Earthship face south.

The Earthship also includes solar panels and the chance to treat recycle grey water, produce food and regulate temperature.

In the cold winter months which all Albertans know to well, and during this time the temperature in the Earthship has never dropped below minus one.

This is one of many station that volunteers get to join in and help with early germination.

With over 26 different stations to participate in it really is a new experience every time, and it will get people coming back for more and more.

Our Earthship is constructed out of old tires rammed with earth, cans and bottles that act almost like bricks, and featuring a new solar panel system.

This amazing building helps Grow Calgary produce more food for the at risk and vulnerable in Calgary.

22045747_1502924486422508_5195467280806881888_nAt Grow Calgary there are a total of 25 different water tanks as well as   numerous 45 gallon tanks this can hold about 200, 000 L of water.

 

Grow Calgary helps over 20 organizations with feeding programs, like the Drop in Centre, Alpha House, and the Women’s Shelter.

The Earth Ship is around 500 square foot located on our 11 acre section of land west of C.O.P..

This Earth Ship has no living people in it but is home to plenty of plant life for early germination.

We hope to see you at our next event!

 

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Farmers in Training: A Visit from Maria Montessori Education Centre

 

This spring the grade 7 ErdKinder class at Maria Montessori Education Centre partnered with Grow Calgary. Together we grew seedlings for the farm and learned about growing food in our own homes and backyards. Those of us at Grow Calgary are elated to see so many young farmers in training taking an interest in growing food! Our food system will be in good hands with these students at the helm!

Below are some of the students’ reflections on working with Grow Calgary.

Describe Your Experience of the Farm, Weather, Sowing the Seeds and Transplanting Plants

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Despite the lousy weather, we all had a notable afternoon at the Grow Calgary Farm. My experience for the weather was completely different than I expected. I knew that the weather was supposed to be cold, but I didn’t think that it would be as cold as it was. Even though I was dressed nice and warm, my hands were almost numb from the cold. For sowing the seeds, I expected it to go a little differently than how it went. For watering the plants, I thought that you would just use a regular watering can and be done in about 5 minutes. But we actually used yogurt containers with little holes drilled on the lid so the water comes out like a watering can. Also for the actual taking care of the plants, we had to water the seedlings every morning and since plants grow towards the sun, we had to turn the trays around every so often. After the seeds were big enough, we all went to the Grow Calgary Farm to transplant them. My experience for transplanting the seedlings was harder than I thought it would be. It was hard because you had to find the roots of each little seedling and put it into another little box / container filled with more soil. Some were more difficult than others because many plants were intertwined with each other. In conclusion, Grow Calgary Farm experience, so far, has been memorable.

N.F. MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 Student

 

On April 14th the Grade 7s from the  ErdKinder class at Maria Montessori Education Centre went to Grow Calgary to transplant seedlings. We had grown them in our class for almost 2 months and they were coming along great. It definitely went quicker than I thought it would, and they started to get too big for them to grow in our small plastic greenhouses. While at the farm, since it was very cold, we used the greenhouses at their farm for warmth and trust me, it was definitely warm in there. It was a pretty good Urban Farm but there were some parts that could’ve been taken care of a bit better though like how there was a rake that could’ve hit you in the head if you stepped on it. The best part about Grow Calgary is that it supports 14 charities including the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank. ‘Join The Farmy!’

M.U. MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 Student

How Were You Feeling After the Farm Work and Planting Seeds?

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Around February the 23rd Grow Calgary came to us and gave us the knowledge, help and supplies we needed to begin our germination. We had 16 plant trays planted with tomatoes, zucchini, scaloppini, corn and garlic. It was a lot of hard but fun work and learning. After the germination until April 7 we watered and turned the seeds until  April 7. On  April 7 we visited the farm for a few hours to transplant our plants. It was a lot of fun even if it was the coldest day of the week. We stayed warm in the greenhouse thanks to the greenhouse effect. All in all, the work at the farm was fun and satisfying to see our plants 1 stage further in its life.     

S.P. MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 student

 

The trip over to Grow Calgary was amazing! On the morning of our departure, we left for the Grow Calgary farm on a city bus, we took three actually; and after one more long, bump-filled bus ride, we arrived at Grow Calgary, though it was slightly chilly,  and looking past the frigid temperature, being at the farm was very exciting. The next two hours of our day flew by, and before I knew it, it was already time to leave. I was exhilarated as we walked over to our bus stop. The experience of transplanting our seedlings was great, even more so that we did it at the farm. My feelings were all over the place after the day was done, going from elated to slightly fatigued from all the planting and non-stop standing, but it was worth it to see the seedlings finally transplanted after months of attention, watering and growing in our small classroom greenhouses. Though the classroom felt empty the next day without the plants in the greenhouses, it was nice to know that the seedlings were planted and growing in the greenhouses back at the Grow Calgary farm. I hope to go back to Grow Calgary soon as I really did enjoy the experience I had at the farm

Anonymous, MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 Student

What Do You Expect from our Next Visit, from Grow Calgary, for Future Excitements, and for Working On The Harvest ?

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For our next visit in Grow Calgary there are many possible options to do. Last time we transplanted our plants into pots. We had Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Corn. We are going to transplant our plants again into the ground, and harvest the plants that we grew. I am sure that it will be a fun experience. This year we will learn about structures, such as greenhouses. At Grow Calgary they had a shelter in which there were some plants growing, it was really cool to see how they do it. Volunteering at Grow Calgary was exciting and was a lot of work. “Join the Farmy!”

William, MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 student.

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How Did Your Expectations of the Germination, the Farm and People Differ from Your Experiences?

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On February 23, 2016, Paul Hughes from Grow Calgary came to our school to plant some seedlings. He came wearing plaid, which is what I imagined a farmer or someone like him to wear. Planting the seeds was easier than I expected and we fit a lot of seeds in each of the trays! It took longer than I expected for the seedlings to sprout, but as soon as they sprouted, they grew very fast.

Once the seedlings were big enough, we took the city bus to Grow Calgary. I’ve been to C.O.P many times, but I’ve never noticed that there was a farm just west of it. When we first got to the farm, I was a little bit taken back. Everything had been repurposed or handmade. We checked out the greenhouses, which were also smaller than I expected but they definitely worked! Transplanting into bigger pots was surprisingly easy and more fun than I expected as well. It was a great experience to have and I look forward to harvesting the plants in the fall!

K.U. MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 student

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~Expectation VS Experience~

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I definitely had different expectations for from how long it would take to what the farm looked like. For starters, I thought it would take a lot longer for the seeds we planted to start growing. It was really engaging to see the seedlings go from smaller than my pinky to bigger than my hand. I also thought the Grow Calgary Farm would look way more rustic, but it was more like where my grandma took me to plant her potatoes and tomatoes, which brought back good memories. The weather was also colder than I expected, so I spent most of my time inside huddling around the heater and planting in their untill I regained my heat. Soon enough the sun came out and I enjoyed helping out in the very slight warmth. All in all the experience was really enjoyable and I’m looking forward to going back later this spring and in the fall (or during harvest season).

A.B. MMEC ErdKinder, Grade 7 student

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Thank you to everyone at Maria Montessori Education Centre for their enthusiasm and participation! 

The Mighty Zucchini

Produce of the Week

The gourd family is a huge, diverse world in the veggie universe. Ranging from melons to squashes and, even, the cucumber. The most popular squash is probably the pumpkin.  Celebrated in the fall with lattes and jack o’lanterns, but little is known about its cousin– the zucchini.

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Zucchinis from Grow Calgary!

The zucchini is a summer squash. And technically, is a fruit! It is actually a part of the zucchini flower. However, it is prepared and eaten like a vegetable– which is probably why we think it is a vegetable.

Hold up, I think they think I’m a vegetable.

Zucchinis will grow in our temperate climate, and is found throughout the world. It can grow to be about 3 feet! Generally, the smaller it is, the sweet it will taste. You can harvest it about 45 – 60 days after planting or about a week after flowering. It is recommended to cut off the zucchini with a sharp knife or scissors rather than breaking them off the vine.

The zucchini and other summer squashes have thin edible skin and soft seeds, and the flesh of summer squash is tender and very perishable. Summer squashes are generally harvested and eaten as immature fruit and should be used within a few days of harvesting.

Zucchinis can be stored in the refrigerator for up to ten days. If you have more than you can possibly eat in ten days, cut off the ends, slice, cube or shred and freeze in food-grade freezer bags.

So why should you eat it? Because there are so many benefits such as:

Visit our farm to harvest a zucchini today! Or check us out on Pinterest for more zucchini facts, gardening tips and recipes.

Source: Canadian Gardener

The Seeds Have Been Planted.

The grass can be greener, beans stalkier, and bellies fuller.

I originally heard about Grow Calgary at the Social Media Breakfast last month. Grow Calgary is a 100% volunteer-run organization whose mission is to make donations to the Calgary Food Bank by living up to the motto that “all Calgarians should have access to fresh, local food.”

I was hooked on the concept. As I learned more about the stunning statistics I couldn’t sleep at night.

Source: Calgary Food Bank

There is not a single profile of who uses the food banks– from single parents to families with unexpected emergencies. Many factors come into play, but one fact does stand out. Every single person deserves the right to food dignity. That is, the right to the access to food, fresh produce and healthy food sources.

I wanted to do something to help. I thought to myself what can I do? I’m not a farmer. The closest thing I have to a ‘green thumb’ is wearing green polish. So, I decided to visit the Grow Calgary Farm with my sister, Jane. Together, we are going to blog, post, tweet, IG, Pin and do everything we can to raise awareness of the extraordinary organization that is Grow Calgary.

To learn more and to volunteer visit growcalgary.ca today!

Grow Calgary

SaTATERday!

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Good news! Our potatoes survived Calgary’s summer snow storm so we still have a TON of harvesting left to do. Come out to the farm tomorrow morning and help us harvest them and deliver them to the Calgary Food Bank! Oh, there will be a potato cookout (fix-ins included), how can you say no? If any transportation is required feel free to contact Jess (jessalynr@gmail.com). Hope to see you all there!