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Growing Food

My husband had never been all that interested in healthy eating. Just food.

It wasn’t long ago that I recall him comparing his own eating habits to those of a raccoon. Basically, if it was edible and he was hungry he would consume it. His preference was meat, and of course as a french Canadian poutine ran a close second. So when he came to me and announced he was going to grow food in the basement I was inclined to doubt him. I told him so. In fact I kind of laughed at him. I told him if he had ever shown an interest in either gardening or salad I would be more inclined to believe him. But this was a little far fetched, and besides, it was the middle of winter.

My husband did not get upset with me, he just looked at me for a moment and with a twinkle in his eye he said, ”It’s not gardening, it’s science. I am going to grow food without soil”. There was a moment of stunned silence and possibly some eye rolling on my part. However, I thought this could be a little hobby, something to keep him busy during slow periods at work, so we ended the conversation with an agreement. He could take $200 from the family budget to explore his idea. Allow me to pause here and clarify. My husband is a paramedic. He is an excellent paramedic. He is not a farmer, not a biologist or gardener, not a cook or even (as already established) a vegetable eater. Pardon my skepticism, but who could blame me!?

A few weeks after that initial conversation I could see that I had underestimated both my husband – and the potential in what he was delving into. We suddenly had a water circulation system hanging from the rafters in the basement – it alone was impressive. I told him if he needed to go past $200 he could – but to be sure we spoke about any big purchases.

Within 3 months there were lights, seed pods, fans, a pump, and tubes of all sizes! I was fascinated by his determination and his trial and error process. I was impressed by his ingenuity and logic. Still I doubted we would ever be eating anything out of it.

Summer came and Eric had not quite worked out the kinks in his system, so we moved the entire thing outside where he could experiment more freely. The neighbours had questions about the giant white tubes strapped to our deck railings. They were confused at first – but as the blooms started forming and the greens started to thicken we could see their fascination growing too.

By autumn there were tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers and spinach. Eric had made huge strides in his construction and design and was ready to head into a new growing season. With seedlings ready and waiting he once again assembled an interior system and plugged it in for production. Weeks later we were dressing our table with the fruits and veggies of his labour! I was stunned, impressed and so very proud of him. Kale, spinach, parsley, basil, mint and even a few green beans! We began talking about all the many uses and benefits of growing this way – wondering why so few people are doing it – and why the systems available are so expensive. Food is a basic need, healthy food should be a right and if we have the ability to help people access food we should move with an eye for our community. At least – that’s how we see it.

We decided we would explore a small business. We believe that if we are diligent and connected to our community we can continue to grow food, while creating systems that suit peoples homes and needs. Empowering people to feed themselves and protecting the environment at the same time. We call it ”Grow for You”. It is a project that has grown out of the very same seeds as Eric’s initial experiment. The seeds of curiosity, and hope. What can be accomplished when we set forth with a powerful tool and a desire to end hunger? What can be accomplished when we offer people an opportunity to grow their own food in their own home – and we make it feel not just possible, but easy? Unintimidating, inexpensive, sustainable.

We believe this is an opportunity to revolutionize the food industry and make an impact on the world through reliable access to food. We hope to be able to create a profitable small business by building beautiful systems for people who want them – which will allow us to afford sharing and building additional systems for those who need them.

They say – nothing is impossible to a willing heart. We believe nothing is impossible. End sentence. Willing hearts drive strong communities, willing minds, drive innovation, and when you bring innovation into communities you build strong economy. We know that health and economy are directly linked – the two are inseparable. We realize that it is to the benefit of the world to help people feed themselves. Economically, environmentally, even medically. AND WE CAN! They can!

Grow for You is the name we chose – because it is simple and true. It’s for YOU – it’s for us all.

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