Health care workers grow food for locals on James Bay Coast –

Some people living on the James Bay Coast in northern Ontario are finding ways to get around high food prices by growing community gardens. 

This summer, several health care workers in Moose Factory tried it out.

By harvest time, they had so much food that they decided to have a “leafy green giveaway” for locals. 

“I believe it surprised some community and staff members that we were actually able to grow fresh produce here on the island,” Weeneebayko Area Health Authority registered dietitian Melissa Hardy said.

“Some people were shocked when we said it was Moose Factory grown, and others said they’ve been growing here for years. That was nice to hear.”

Several Weeneebayko Area Health Authority workers grew community gardens this summer. (Supplied/Melissa Hardy)

Hardy and her colleagues gave away close to 50 bags filled with mixed greens, including romaine lettuce and kale. 

They also made four salad dressings. 

‘It’s not hard to do’

“I think there was a message to myself and I guess a message to others that it’s not hard to do,” Hardy said.

“I think we could have more community gardens as long as they were community led.”

Hardy said she would like to see schools in the far north implement community gardens as part of their curriculum. 

Mixed greens

Health care workers at the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority gave out close to 50 bags filled with mixed greens and four salad dressings during a recent food giveaway in Moose Factory. (Supplied/Melissa Hardy )

“Eating healthy is always a challenge when all foods are high priced up here,” she said. 

“But what we do is look at budgeting, grocery lists, meal planning, making small changes and from there trying to develop a lifestyle change and just incorporating a variety of different foods.”

Besides growing food, Hardy suggests buying frozen vegetables and fruit to get nutrition on the James Bay Coast. 

Hardy plans to continue gardening and giving away food next year.