Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you grow your food?

We are currently growing our vegetables on land generously donated by Terra View Homes in Guelph, Ontario.

Can I buy your produce?

Backyard Bounty produce is no longer available at the Guelph Farmer’s market and The Aberfoyle Farmer’s Market. We have revamped our organizational model so that all of our produce is donated to the Guelph Food Bank.

Are you certified organic?

No, we do not have organic certification.  Because we use about 20 different lots throughout town, it is just not feasible to get each one certified.  For instance, soil samples cost up to $100 each, so that is not something we have the capacity to do for each lot.  Our motivation for doing this project is to provide a sustainable, healthy solution to lawns and the conventional food system.  Thus, we do our best to ensure that our practices are all organic and we act with stewardship in mind.  While we cannot receive a “certified organic” rating you can feel confident that you are receiving high quality, healthy vegetables.  Of course, if you ever have any doubts, our plots are accessible by bike so come on out and join us for an afternoon, get your hands on some healthy soil, and cast all doubts aside!

What do you do to reduce carbon emissions?

We have consolidated our properties into one area of land generously donated by Terra View Homes in Guelph, Ontario. As a result, we have reduced our transportation carbon footprint.  Even if there are emissions from the transportation between our gardens, this is still a much more sustainable option than organic produce from California.  Also, whereas lawns are mowed about once a week, we only use a roto-tiller twice a year at most on each plot.  Below is a photo of summer staff, Andrew and Justin, flying from site to site on their bikes!

What are heirloom seeds?

We try to include many heirloom varieties, which have been bred over generations to provide various traits that are both suitable for certain growing conditions and provide exceptional flavour.  Conventional varieties are often selected for their productivity, their ability to withstand mechanical picking and cross-country shipping, and their tolerance to drought, frost, or pesticides and thus sacrifice taste and nutrition. We challenge you to compare our heirloom varieties to any tomato grown half a continent away, you’ll taste the difference!  Also, growing heirloom crops helps to maintain genetic diversity and ensure that our food system is sustainable and resilient.

Why Eat Local Food?

Other than water, food is the primary means of providing nutrition to the body, therefore it is vitally important that we make sure the food we eat daily contains the nutritional benefits we need.  In our fast-paced world, sometimes we neglect these needs and go with alternative “meal replacers” that are loaded with preservatives and additives in order to meet our caloric demands.

But you’re here because you are more concerned with your health than most folks, or you’re starting to come around.  If you’re just starting to contemplate the local food system and its importance, we’ll make it easy for you…

There are many benefits to eating local food.  Take a tomato for instance, if you’re buying Mexican or Californian tomatoes they’ve been trucked thousands of kilometers to get to the grocery store and then into your homes… aside from the fuel used for trucking (which is itself negative), those tomatoes need to withstand the rigours of travel, and are bred to do so.  Tomatoes meant for travel have thicker skins, and are picked unripe.  When they arrive or as they travel they are being pumped with ethylene gas — and while this process happens naturally on the vine, you’re still essentially eating an unripe tomato, so the flavour and nutrition suffer.

Another benefit is “getting to know your farmer” and his/her practices.  How easy would it be for you to head to California to talk in person about that tomato grower’s production practices?  Conversely, how easy is it for you to plan a visit at a Backyard Bounty garden?  If your grower claims to be organic without being certified, wouldn’t you like to know if they’re telling the truth?  Because unless the food is crossing a border there’s no regulation saying you can’t call your food organic!  Once you have a few growers you trust, wouldn’t you like to support them so they can maintain the life they want to lead, while at the same time supporting your own local economy?  If your township is in need of new roads or an addition to the library, it’d be a lot harder to see that done if everyone is sending their money out of town each and every day!  The more we support local farmers, the more local farms will spring up to meet demand, so vote with your food dollars and let everyone know we want more local food!

The promotion of local food has picked up steam over the last few years, but we cannot let it be a fad!  By shopping at local food markets, local food restaurants, or local food stands, we can encourage our farmers to stay in the business and show young people that there are careers in agriculture afterall!

Finally, we at Backyard Bounty believe in local food so much, we want everyone to do what we do, and convert unproductive lawn into gardens!  The tastiest food you eat is the food you grow and harvest yourself!