What aids local food security, promotes healthy community competition and engenders a feeling of neighbours helping neighbours? The Great Veggie Grow Off does all these things.

Since 2014, from Mississippi Mills, Perth, Carleton Place, Smiths Falls and all the rural lands between, small farms, citizen farmers and other residents of Lanark County communities have engaged in friendly competition to produce quality, local food for the area food banks. It is a truly wonderful phenomenon where local gardeners “plant another row” to help these vital community services to provide for those in their communities who need access to healthy food. And they certainly have. Donation numbers continue to grow, as we reach the end of another bountiful growing season.

The four local food banks have been asked to weigh and record the community of origin of locally grown donations of food since May 1st until the final weigh-in on Thanksgiving weekend. The Great Veggie Grow off, now in its seventh year, expanded a few years ago to include gardeners in communities across Lanark County. Mississippi Mills was the victor for the first five years but in 2019, a new competitor triumphed – Drummond and North Elmsley. Total donations by gardeners to all four Food Banks in 2019 was an amazing 15,975 pounds. We look forward to another plentiful year in 2020, especially as the demand for food banks has increased in this unprecedented year.

Tell your friends and invite your neighbours to the Great Veggie Grow Off weigh-in ceremony at the Mississippi Mills Public Library on Saturday, October 10th from 10 am to 2 pm with speeches beginning at 11 am. Based on current provincial COVID-19 precautionary measures, attendance at the event will be limited to 25 at any one time to account for adequate social distancing. We are planning for a safe and enjoyable experience for all. Come celebrate UN’s World Food Day and share in the local harvest and community generosity that the Great Veggie Grow Off has come to represent for many years.