An expansion to an urban farm is establishing some important roots in Edmonton. The farm is not only helping feed dozens of families, but also providing an escape during a year full of challenges.

Alica Jogo and several others from Edmonton’s Sudanese community is harvesting loads of vegetables from this newly expanded acre at an urban farm in the city.

“I think I have enough for the next six months,” Jogo said. “I’m not buying anything. It’s really a blessing, having this garden — I’m glad that I could be a part of it.”

Jogo is one of 53 people who signed up to learn how to garden back in April. That is when the unused plot of land owned by the city but leased to Explore Edmonton had just been transformed to a usable garden space.

“We had funding from the Butler Foundation and from Communities United and we managed to swing it so we actually got seeds in the ground on June 5,” said Patty Milligan, Explore Edmonton’s agriculture education specialist.

The $35,000 investment is helping bring an abundance of food to several cultural communities in Edmonton at no cost.

“There are some huge needs in the community, and I think they relate to community connection, feeling a part of a group, feeling that you have a safe place to connect during a stressful time and also of course food security,” Milligan said.

“It’s been hard but with the help… it’s really great,” Jogo said. “I don’t have to worry about food. I don’t need to worry about the vegetables now.”

Urban farm organizers said they hope to add things like greenhouses, make it more education-friendly and possibly acquire another plot of land.

“The long-term goal would be to have potentially half a block (or) a full city block of diverse growing space with different facilities and structures as well,” said Communities United program manager Matthew Taylor.

As for Jogo, she can’t wait to get started on the next growing season.

“So long as the garden is still here, I am coming back,” Jogo said.

Those interested can contact Communities United or multicultural health brokers for more information.

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