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

PHOTOS: Shinedown and Papa Roach light up Penticton’s SOEC

Asking Alexandria and Savage After Midnight opened the show on Oct. 16

How local candidates are using Facebook to advertise directly to you

Liberal campaign is the biggest spender on Facebook ads in South Okanangan–West Kootenay

Grab your Lederhosen, Penticton Oktoberfest is tomorrow!

The 10th annual event is hosted at the Penticton Lakeside Resort and kicks off Penticton Beer Week

South Okanagan’s first swim meet of the season

The Penticton KISU Swim Club is hosting its first meet of the season this weekend

Charles wows them at iconic South Okanagan venue

Blues musician Michael Charles played to a sold-out crowd at the Dream Café Saturday

VIDEO: First all-female spacewalk team makes history

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir did work on International Space Station’s power grid

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

Natalie MacMaster makes Okanagan one of two B.C. stops

Queen of the Fiddle in town Oct. 24

Shooters compete in Summerland

Seven youth participants take aim

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

RDOS cannabis production bylaw goes to public hearing

Hearing on micro cannabis production facilities will be held Nov. 21

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Most Read