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Hidden Harvest

Updated: Apr 22, 2020


Food is so abundant in our supermarkets we easily forget how many people in Ottawa cannot afford to purchase the healthy stuff.

The poor and the marginalized bear the cost of not eating enough fruits, vegetables and high protein nuts and seeds (and eating too much sugar and animal fat). Diabetes and other nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (as they are known) are epidemic in Canada and many other countries around the world.

Addressing this pressing problem will require actions on many fronts, by individuals, by groups, and by governments. As Frances Moore-Lappé points out, however, every drop counts if they fall into the right buckets.

The time has come to plant fruit and nut trees in the City of Ottawa. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has rightly spooked City foresters who foresee a massive loss of our forest canopy to this insect over the next few years. Many ash are being felled (in Andrew Haydon Park, for example) in an attempt to slow down the spread. Many trees are also being planted by the City to take the place of the doomed ash trees still standing. Why not plant trees that can feed people?

Hidden Harvest Ottawa is a grassroots initiative to bring food from trees around the city to people that need it. What a contribution the City forestry department could make by actively planting fruit and nut trees as an integral part of the EAB program! Jennifer Sheppard is the City’s Landscape Architect who leads the tree planting programs in Westboro. Let her know you’d like to see plantings for the hidden harvest.

The Black Walnut, pictured above and native to Ottawa, is a rich source of proteins and the omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) known to promote heart health.

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