Carmen Lamoureux believes that absolutely anyone can grow their own food.
Growing food not only addresses the need for food security, it also empowers human beings to take action, according to Lamoureux, founder of the Urban Farm School in Calgary and an instructor for Lee Valley, the Calgary Horticultural Society, and Verge Permaculture, an Alberta-based award-winning regenerative design consulting and education centre helping people around the world create a sustainable future and more meaningful life.
Whether it’s growing herbs in a container or vegetables in a community garden, Lamoureux wants people to realize “we all have this ability to create a beautiful relationship with the food we eat. Even if it’s just growing sunflowers and pole beans. Growing food is just another skill set you have to nurture in yourself, and move forward, step by step.”
To buy produce in store is much more expensive than growing it yourself. But growing your own food, according to Lamoureux, is more than a matter of dollars and cents.
“The yields can be measured in a feeling of empowerment and engagement with your family,” she explains. “There is also a community connection, because hopefully you’ll be sharing the surplus. It’s not just about saving money, although that’s an important aspect – there are so many more yields beyond that. And if everybody could engage with that kind of a process – think about what kind of a society we would have.
“If you are growing organically, without the use of agricultural chemicals and you are taking care of your soil, then without a doubt you will be able to grow food that is incredibly more nutrient dense than anything you could ever find in the grocery store, organic or otherwise. It’s unbelievable, the difference in nutrient density.” On top of that, Lamoureux adds, growing your own food is ‘hyper local’ food production – shortening the food supply chain, and all that that entails. “Growing your own food is absolutely the first step in human health and planetary health.”
By growing food, no matter how little or how much, people are moving away from dependency on the industrial food system, which is complex and fragile, and towards self-empowerment. “It’s also a sense of groundedness, calm and well-being that we get from putting our hands against the earth. That’s really where we find peace and where we find comfort,” says Kym Chi, a permaculture facilitator and herbalist on the West Coast.
“Now more than ever, it’s important to keep our immune systems up and stress levels down. Gardening and connecting with the natural world can help ensure we have healthy food and medicine available for ourselves and our communities, building true resilience.”
And for those who are drawn to this path from a business perspective, “I think anyone going into a green business is going to be successful,” Kym Chi adds. “It is really where we are going – I don’t think we have any other choice. My business grows every year with people wanting to be more sustainable and regenerative.”