By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - A community group of expert gardeners handed out hundreds of plants Saturday to educate city residents on how easy it is to eat healthy and save money by growing your own food or buying it locally.
For the second year, Transition Cornwall + held their Incredible Edible Plant Festival at the Justice Building on Pitt Street.
Nearly 400 people lined up for a free plant that was ready to bear food.
Residents had their pick of beans, red and yellow sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, or perpetual spinach plants, ready to go in a three-gallon pot.
Besides handing out free vegetable plants, the gifted greenthumbs were also creating three downtown vegetable gardens with the community.
The event was run by the Transition + sub-group, Food Action Group, and it marked Local Food Week in Ontario (June 2-8).
The Food Action Group advocates for food issues such as food safety, local production, organic gardens, agricultural infrastructure, food distribution, community gardens, and education.
"We're helping to build a sustainable and resilient community," said Bill Carriere, a member of the group.
He noted that a lot of visitors from the inaugural festival returned with a newfound excitement for gardening.
Carriere also noticed that there were a lot more youth at the event this year. Many were glad to either help at the children's garden in front of the fire station or plant sunflower seedlings at the Cornwall Community Police Service building.
Seven-year-old Dezirae, of Cornwall, jumped at the opportunity to get her hands dirty. She enjoyed the family outing with her little brother Montgomery, 6, and her mother Pamela, but couldn't wait to take her new bean plant home.
City resident Debra-Lynn Bellefeuille said her new cherry tomatoes will grow perfectly on her aprtment balcony.
Dillon Cooke, who recently moved to the Seaway City, has always wanted to try his hand at growing flowers. He said his new free plants are a great way to get started.
Kyle Jackson, a resident of LaSalle, Quebec, was glad he visited the city and attended the event. He saw the concept of growing your own food as a great way to save money, comparing the cost of seeds versus buying fresh produce in the store.
For more information, visit transitioncornwall.com.