Roughly six years in the past David Benjestorf and his spouse purchased 23 acres of land northwest of Edmonton in Sturgeon County.
He at all times imagined he would at some point turn into a passion farmer when he both retired or had some spare time — however that was exhausting to seek out.
A lawyer by day, Benjestorf can be vice-chair of the Edmonton Meals Financial institution.
When the pandemic hit, the realities of what many individuals is likely to be going by means of began to sink in.
“The demand for meals on the meals financial institution was astronomically excessive, and in order that was swirling round behind my head,” Benjestorf stated.
In April, he was impressed by a present on Netflix known as “The Greatest Little Farm,” which is a few huge metropolis couple leaving all of it behind to start out a farm.
“It was like a lightweight bulb went off for me: I can try this,” he stated.
“Immediately, I stated we’re going to start out a vegetable farm for the Edmonton Meals Financial institution.”
Benjestorf, nonetheless, had by no means grown something earlier than — “zero expertise,” he stated.
By Could, he planted six-and-a-half acres of potatoes in his huge backyard.
In one other smaller half-acre backyard, he grew 22 totally different sorts of greens.
The Pandemic Planting Undertaking was formally born.
For the final 4 weekends, he and his many volunteers have been busy harvesting.
“I discovered a dozen family and friends and colleagues that agreed to donate a day or two of their time each week,” Benjestorf stated.
A callout on social media ultimately attracted dozens extra.
In whole, they’ve picked almost 100,000 kilos of potatoes.
“The response has been extremely heartwarming,” Benjestorf stated.
“It simply goes to indicate that [Edmonton is] a metropolis with volunteers and volunteerism and by no means shy about serving to these in want.”
Jay Ball has been volunteering within the backyard for the previous three Saturdays.
“It’s fairly fulfilling,” Ball stated. “On the finish of the day, you realize what you’re doing is making a distinction, and I’ve received a little bit of time on my fingers on the weekends.”
He stated whereas harvesting is difficult work, it’s additionally a number of enjoyable.
“It’s been a complete escape for me,” Ball stated.
“It simply form of takes these stresses away,” he stated. “ you’re doing one thing good however your thoughts will get to deal with one thing else.”
Oct. three was the ultimate day of harvest. The sensation of accomplishment is blended with unhappiness.
“I’m going to overlook it. It’s been great to get your fingers within the soil, get soiled and contribute to others who’re in want,” volunteer Michelle Turcotte stated.
Benjestorf defined the sensation as bittersweet.
“I’ve by no means grown something earlier than; I’ve by no means had a backyard,” Benjestorf stated. “I now get to plant one thing, nurture it, elevate it, work with a gaggle of associates and volunteers, ship it to the meals financial institution, then on the opposite finish, we get to offer it out.”
Now he’s trying ahead to taking what he’s realized into subsequent season.
“I’m enthusiastic about rising the venture,” he stated.
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