Alex Boss is a new columnist with Black Press has a BA Hons in geography and is applying for her masters in landscape architecture. (Black Press file photo)

Column: Introducing urban agriculture

New columnist delves into growing in the city

Hello lovely Western readers, my name is Alex and I am so excited to be bringing you a new biweekly column on urban agriculture relevant to our Okanagan area.

I grew up here in Penticton. I have been growing fruit and vegetables in my own garden only for a few years but it has brought me such joy and is so easy that I wanted to share this with more of my community.

Each month I will interview a gardener in the Okanagan who also wants to share their tips and garden ideas with you. As well, there will be useful articles like how to make a self-catering pot, best veggies to grow in the Okanagan, and how to grow greens inside.

Urban agriculture is pretty much exactly what it sounds like; agricultural activities like growing fruits and vegetables, raising livestock, and food processing that occur within an urban environment. A lot of longtime Penticton residents might not think of Penticton as an urban environment but our little city is densifying more every year. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But when development occurs without proper planning for the future, then we are at risk of becoming a concrete island between two lakes.

READ MORE: Hergott: Working around pain from a car crash

In most areas of the Okanagan, we are lucky enough to have very good soil. This is likely due to the historic flooding, especially here in Penticton. The Okanagan has a continental climate moderated by Okanagan Lake, meaning hot summers, cold winters and minimal rainfall. We are in a rain shadow caused by the Cascade and Coast Mountains, and on average get just over a ruler’s length of precipitation a year. While it is arid here, it means we are fortunate to get enough heat and light in the summer to grow things like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Whether you live in a house, townhouse, or tiny apartment, if you have the desire to grow your own food it is possible. And likely easier than you think.

Still on the fence? Does it sound like too much effort? Maybe this will entice you, urban agriculture is a way to bring food production back to our communities and reduce our reliance on other countries’ produce. This then greatly minimizes our transportation emissions and costs. It is a way to not just reduce the urban heat island effect, but also utilize it. The urban heat island effect occurs due to concrete absorbing and radiating heat back out, making cities 5 to 10 degrees hotter than rural areas. This additional heat lengthens the growing season to increase harvests, and the plants help moderate the city temperatures. It’s a way for us to feed cities that are predicted to swell in population but not land size, a predicament specific to Penticton.

Growing your own food means you know exactly what chemicals it may have come into contact with, and how and where it was grown. Really the best reason, which you will only discover once you start, is how good it tastes. When I finally had local garlic, it was incomparable to the stuff from the store. I hope you join me to learn more so you can get out there and start playing in the dirt.

Alex Boss has a BA Hons in geography and is applying for her masters in landscape architecture. Join her at www.bossagritecture.com

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Just Posted

Penticton woman dies after Riva Ridge Mobile Park fire in May

BC Coroners Service says investigation in progress

Penticton kickstarts process to allow 20-room luxury hotel at Poplar Grove Winery

City council granted a bylaw amendment to allow the commercial use, still requires a building permit

New RCMP policy is a little hairy

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Suspicious fire causes scary morning for Penticton Indian Band resident

Investigation continues into three wildfires over the past couple of days near Penticton

City of Penticton supports $10aDay Child Care program

Council voted unanimously to sign a letter of support at the June 18 council meeting

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Man surrenders following standoff in Kamloops

Massive police response in Kamloops was in connection with a reported domestic dispute

Okanagan police service dog aids in arrest of break-and-enter suspect

Heavy police presence at Vernon’s Upper Room Mission results in PSD Jagger finding suspect, Calgary man

B.C. man faces deportation over father’s honour-killing conviction

Father lied to immigration, was later acquitted of charges in Jassi Sidhu’s murder

Two Kelowna sites rezoned for pot shops

Cannabis retailers closer to reality for Lawrence Avenue, St. Paul Street

Okanagan senior feels trapped in long-term care facility

Rose-Marie Lepodvin says she wants assisted living, but feels trapped in long-term care

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Most Read