A local farm is working to inspire sustainability and spark interest in gardening through a giveaway of 500 free window herb kits.
The kit includes a peat pod, basil seeds and instructions for families to grow basil in their kitchen windows.
“This is a different growing method from the vegetaBALES,” said Jess Pfisterer, owner of The Pfisterer Farm. “The goal is to get families introduced to and excited about the possibility of backyard gardening whether it be through our kits or otherwise. We know it's been an extra long winter with COVID lockdown and hope these kits can bring a little joy and green into people's kitchens.”
The idea for the window herb kits came after Pfisterer noticed a boost in curiosity about gardening from urban communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The window kits were inspired by Pfisterer learning how to grow food in straw bales.
“In 2019 I was actually pregnant with our son and we were planning to move to our forever farm later that year,” Pfisterer said. “There was absolutely no way that I was going to be getting my hands and knees doing the gardening that we normally do. So, I started doing some research and I came across this concept of straw bale gardening.”
Growing vegetables in a straw bale is a low-maintenance alternative to traditional farm plots as it requires no weeding, tools or intensive labour. It also gives the grower a variety of places they can garden in since straw bales are portable.
With the help of the Our Food Future initiative, Pfisterer farms is offering residents in urban and residential Guelph-Wellington areas the opportunity contribute to a circular food economy and try growing basil in their kitchen windows.
“Everything kind of lined up and we applied for the grant and it was great,” Pfisterer said. “We've been able to bring this idea of what we call vegetaBALES to the larger public and that's been like really exciting so to kind of kick that off, we thought, why not get things going by giving out these free window herb tests to families in Guelph and Wellington.”
Pfisterer also said the free kits were created with school-age children in mind as the window kits require minimum maintenance.
“This is a way for anyone anywhere to grow with very little experience and very little effort,” Pfisterer said.
She also said she sees this as an opportunity for families to start a conversation about a circular food economy.
“We really want to open up the dialogue around local food,” Pfisterer said. “There's nothing more exciting than watching a pea pod expand for school-aged children.”
Families in the Guelph-Wellington region can sign up to receive their free window herb kit at www.vegetabales.com while supplies last. Kits will be mailed out in early March for the spring grow season.