Growing for Health

The City of Cold Lake was one of 16 pilot communities from across Alberta to receive grant funding from the Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund, Alberta Health Services, to implement the Alberta Healthy Communities Approach (AHCA).

“The AHCA works with communities to discover their strengths through a community-driven process to create healthy places and social spaces for all,” spokesperson Tanya Boudreau explained in a press release. As a result, The Cold Lake Healthy Choices Count Coalition was formed in the fall of 2015.

Tower Gardens

As part of the healthy eating strategies, the coalition chose to fund Tower Gardens for four community organizations. The coalition was inspired by the Tower Gardens that they previously saw at 4 Wing Cold Lake.

Tammy Buchanan, PSP Health Promotion Manager for 4 Wing Cold Lake said there is a waiting list for additional towers, and the ones that are there are being enjoyed by many people. “Everyone likes the ambience,” Buchanan said.

The Tower Gardens are approximately 6-feet-high, illuminated, free-standing growing stations that provide year-round access to garden fresh produce. “They are a great way to quickly and easily grow fresh herbs, leafy greens and vegetables” said Buchanan.

The group’s goal is to have affordable healthy food available to the community members who access these community organizations on a year-round basis.

Where are they growing

You can check the Towers out at Happy House Daycare, The Cold Lake Native Friendship Centre, Cold Lake Parent Link Centre, and 4 Wing Cold Lake.

Cold Lake First Nations Tower

“We were extremely grateful to be able to enjoy some ‘Happy House Lettuce’ today!” stated the daycare. “It is quite remarkable to have watched the produce grow right here in our hallway.”

Happy Hour’s chef Sarah harvests the leafy vegetables to prepare lunch, said the daycare. “It doesn’t get any fresher than this! The children were in love with the whole concept.”

The youth at the Cold Lake Native Friendship Centre painted the towers to look like totem poles.

Lesley Chiasson from the Cold Lake Parent Link Centre said the vegetables have been popular with the families that use the facility. “They take the harvest home with them for supper.”

Spin-offs from this initiative included a tower being bought for The Loft at Cold Lake and District FCSS.