Last week we attended the Vancouver Urban Farming Society AGM, reconnecting with a handful of local urban farmers to kick off the society’s mission: promoting urban farming and growing its viability in the city of Vancouver. I often get caught up in the excitement of working with such a passionate group and have to remind myself that there ARE people who don’t even know that this network of people exists; that don’t know their farmers or where their food comes from!
It got me thinking how easy it is to be disconnected from something as crucial as FOOD. It’s important to pause and peel back the layers of the complex systems of which we’re a part!
Yesterday I was in the garden, working furiously to keep up with kale going to seed, meticulously picking the bad leaves off of our plants and planting more lettuce to ensure we have a crop for our upcoming farmers markets. It wasn’t until I slowed down to take a closer look at what was happening that I was reminded what a miracle a growing, producing garden is.
Bees were rampant around our berry bushes yesterday, playing multiple, important functions in the garden. Thanks to our buzzing friends, many plants are pollinated and can thus reproduce! In fact, one third of food plants depend on the services of pollinators. Bees account for 80% of all insect pollination contributing to the human diet! Plus, the local honey that they produce can even be used to treat allergies! But they’re not the only ones working hard to help us produce our food…
Ladybugs are another amazing beneficial insect. These speckled beauties are actually predatory beetles and chow down on harmful bugs like aphids, preventing those pests from destroying our crops. Fact: Some ladybugs will eat up to 5,000 aphids in their lifetime! I say bon appetit my friends!
As urban farmers who are sometimes appreciated but often overlooked, we are grateful to have the opportunity to educate our community about our other friends working hard in the garden. This summer, we’ll be teaching kids about bees, ladybugs, worms and more at our urban agriculture camp, Passport to Permaculture. Campers spend the week outdoors, exploring the multifunctional relationships that create a thriving ecosystem in the garden, from a soil safari to a session all about bees! Click here for registration information.
So take the time to lean in and have a closer look at the plants growing in your garden. There’s a lot more going on than you might expect!