Gardens Grow Healthy Food!


Today is the second day of our garden series on the blog. Yesterday we highlighted the different ways you get involved in the many different garden related activities at House of Friendship. Deb shared her experiences in the garden and how they helped her explore new food items and eat healthy treats like Kale chips!

House of Friendship gets creative in the garden with healthy choices and ideasWe had many opportunities to harvest the bounty of the garden and turn that bounty into delicious shared meals. We grew three types of kale last year, and it was by far the most celebrated vegetable.

The day we made Kale chips was a particularly spirited day, and everyone enjoyed trying out a number of seasoning combinations and waiting for these addictive treats to be out of the oven!

Kale Chips

Ingredients: Two bunches of Kale, olive oil, sea salt, other  seasonings as desired (garlic powder, cheese, cracked black pepper, fresh or dried herbs, curry powder)

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper (which can be reused!).

With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner.

Place in a bowl.

Drizzle kale lightly with olive oil and massage into the leaves.

Sprinkle with salt. Add additional seasonings as desired for new flavour combinations!

Bake until the edges are darker but not burnt. This depends on your oven- it could be 10 to 15 minutes or more; check on them every so often so that you don’t burn the edges.


Over at Food Hampers, sharing recipes and celebrating new foods is a big part of what we do. But first, I have a question. Can you think of some items that are often overlooked when people choose a food item to donate? Got it? OK great. Hold that thought for a few moments.

A recipe for success

Recently, Wanda, was in the Food Hamper lobby sharing some freshly donated items. This is something that helps fill out our food hampers and helps us share recipes and tips. A woman who had needed to turn to us in the past enthusiastically approached her about some herbs Wanda had shared, and some of the some tips on preparation she had also shared.

“Honey, it was good! I followed the recipe you shared! Thank you so much!” she shared with a hug.

I think you can probably see where I’m going with this. Did you guess herbs and spices? If so, congratulations! Herbs and spices are the item that are often overlooked when people are thinking of donating. They are a powerful contribution to our program because they extend food options and can break up monotonous food options.

They also provide us with a great opportunity to share one on one with people. Interacting with people as we offer things like herbs is something we want to do more of. It’s an opportunity to share (and gain) food knowledge, break down barriers and build healthy community relationships while extending the options available with our food boxes. Simple things like pepper, herbs and even onions or garlic help transform what might be bland into something memorable.

An easy way to help in 600 kitchens a week

Do you want to add some flavour to the services of the Emergency Food Hamper Program? We need your help to transform the green spaces on our property into productive garden plots to grow herbs to share with the many families and individuals who turn to us for help each week.


Your donation of herb seeds or plants will allow us to fill our garden with aromatic and flavourful additions to an average of 120 households each day. The best part, is that while you’re helping make something memorable in over 600 kitchens, you won’t have to clean a single dish afterwards!

Want to get involved?

If you have gardening expertise to share (or an interest in getting some) or have something to donate, please contact Matt at 519-570-3976 or You can also tweet us @HOF_housing

Supportive Housing would appreciate extra watering cans, work gloves, stakes, twine, mulch, gardening ‘foam’ mats (to assist with kneeling in the garden), and is always happy to have extra potting or top soil.

The Emergency Food Hamper Program would benefit from shovels, watering cans, clippers, twine and a garden fork. We could also make use of raspberry canes, wildflowers, herbs like mint, oregano, basil, lemon balm, dill, parsley and thyme.

Not sure how you would like to help, or interested in learning more? Stay tuned to this space each day this week as we shed some sunlight on different ways you can make a difference and make this region a little greener and more inclusive!

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2 Responses to “Gardens Grow Healthy Food!”

  1. Gardens Grow Volunteer Engagement | Hofemergencyfoodassistance's Blog Says:

    […] Would you like to be a part of this story and join Marlene and the people like her that make a greener, more connected, healthier region? […]

  2. guelphstreetgarden Says:

    Reblogged this on Guelph Street Garden and commented:
    This is a great series of blogs about community gardens from the House of Friendship Emergency Food Hamper Assistance program. Every community garden can learn something about how these dedicated gardeners work together!

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