(Photo: “That was the last good garden I could grow which was two years ago,” says Primeau. “In that garden I had corn, tomatoes, green peppers, green onions, yellow onions, chard, radishes, leaf lettuce, carrots, green beans and a special type of purple beans. I was also growing watermelon and potatoes in a nearby rock garden.”)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Logan Primeau is the man behind the Free Food Project, an idea that took root in his mind long ago and that he’s working to get off the ground in the coming months. Here’s his story.
I grew up in Brockville, a small town not far from here, straddling the St. Lawrence River. At the age of 10, I moved with my family to a house two doors down from my maternal grandmother Helen Brown.
She worked as a florist, but also ran a dairy goat farm with over 50 animals. At a young age I began working on the farm. Working alongside my grandmother is where I developed my love of animals and of gardening.
She always had the biggest gardens, both vegetables and flowers. She would get me to help her remove the weeds, and at the same time I learned valuable lessons about how to keep a garden healthy and vibrant.
In 2004 I moved to Ottawa where I worked in fast food while I went to school part time. It was while working at one of these jobs that I had a thought: why was it that healthy foods tended to be so much more expensive?
These were foods you could grow at home, as I had with my grandmother. There had to be a better way, and so the Free Food Project was born.
The idea was simple enough: enable those that wished to grow their own food to do so. How would I achieve that? By building a network of like-minded people, who would share information and work together with the goal of increasing access to fresh foods to those that needed it at a fraction of the cost.
Years went by and although my experience grew and ideas solidified I did little more than grow my own gardens, and offer advice to others. Life simply got in the way as I had no time to spare between working and building a charitable organization with my father that helps to fund an orphanage near Nairobi.
Despite this I was still able to grow some fairly good gardens, with a variety of vegetables. This even brought me into a healthy competition with my grandmother, whom I had begun to help plant her garden in the spring. She passed away in November 2014, two months after I became a father. Suddenly a fountain of knowledge was gone, the one I turned to with all of my questions. I decided that now is the time to go full steam ahead with the plans which I had solidified over the years.
So what am I looking to achieve? With the help of various partners here and in my hometown I am looking to build my network of people who desire that positive change. I will be running various workshops throughout the winter in the lead up to spring 2016 to educate those who desire to become more self-sufficient.
Alongside this effort I am also looking to amass a group of volunteers who can assist me in Spring 2016 to provide those with limited means, such as seniors, the resources and help they need to grow their own garden.
We have started a YouCaring fundraiser to help raise funds for our launch in Spring 2016. You can donate directly through that campaign and watch updates on how that money is being used.
Some things that we are looking to acquire are:
- A small greenhouse to start plants that will be given out to people that are in need in the community.
- Materials to build several raised beds that will be used to grow food for shelters and the food bank and other similar public projects.
- All of the seeds that will be needed over the course of the season for our public projects.
- A small run of flyers, signage and other marketing materials to be distributed in and around the community to raise awareness.