Some people in western Newfoundland are enjoying fresh, local vegetables in the dead of winter, thanks to a Western Health initiative to introduce hydroponics kits to community groups.
"We know that vegetable and fruit consumption is really low in Newfoundland in general, and western Newfoundland particularly, so we're looking at ways to increase vegetable and fruit consumption," said Lesley French, a nutritionist at Western Health.
The program avails of local technology: the kits come from the St. John's-based company SucSeed, which itself sprang from a team of Memorial University students. Their kits resemble large black Tupperware bins, with the lids peppered with small pots and a simple watering system, plus a grow light.
"There were quite a few groups that got left out of the first call, so we're hoping that we'll be able to obtain more and maybe do another call," French said, adding the current crop of kits will stay with their respective groups.
Of those who did receive kits, French said, "it's been really, really positive," with groups growing lettuce, tomatoes and kale initially.