Judy Kenzie – Changing the World, One Seed At A Time

8 May

JudyKenzieTruckFarmNon-GMO

There is a very remarkable woman living in our midst in the Strathcona area.  Her name is Judy Kenzie.  What makes her so remarkable you might ask?   Well this woman has her hands in a few pots shall we say, literally and figuratively.

Judy Kenzie is an avid gardener and has lived in Strathcona since 2002.  Judy saw a need for sustainable food resources in the community, but her aim is not to just give food handouts. She wishes to show people how to grow food for themselves and just how easy it is.  To drive this point home, again literally and figuratively, Judy has a Truck Farm.  It is a 1993 Mazda B2600 pick up truck with the license plate NON-GMO and truckfarm.ca painted on the back panel.  In the truck bed, you will find a living, growing vegetable garden. This truck gathers a crowd and photographs wherever it goes.

JudyKenzieSeedPackage

One year ago, Judy Kenzie started Strathcona 1890 Urban Seed Collections. Judy has packaged non-genetically modified seeds for herbs, vegetables and edible flowers with a primary focus on open-pollinated, heirloom seeds.  Her packaging has a very unique vintage feel created by combining her own artwork with a variety of botanicals from the 16th through 18th centuries to create one-of-a-kind imagery.  Judy travels with her seeds to various elementary schools, day care and community centers teaching children to grow their own vegetables. Did I mention she does most of this for free.

Judy sells her seeds at various stores through out the Lower Mainland as well as on line.  Her uniquely themed seed collections run the gamut from kid friendly collections with dwarf sunflower seeds, rainbow carrots, runner bean seeds to a Quick & Dirty collection comprising of faster growing varieties.   There is even an Edible Flowers collection that comes with a recipe for adding edible flowers to cheese with a wine glaze.

The aim is for Strathcona 1890 to be a sustainable business venture and provide bridging jobs for people on social assistance, single moms and people with disabilities who can work for only a few hours at a time.   When Judy isn’t busy teaching armies of children how to garden, she is nurturing seedlings for the Arms Open Wide Project at the Ray Cam Community Centre.  This is a collaborative effort involving a number of organizations that will have seniors and children planting, maintaining and harvesting a vertical garden.

JudyKenzieSeedlings2

If you are interested in purchasing seeds from Judy herself, you  are in luck. Judy will be participating in a number of events over the coming weeks where the Truck Farm will be making an appearance. One such appearance will be the 18th Annual Stone Soup Festival at the Britannia Community Centre this Saturday, May 11th which theme just happens to be urban agriculture.  The Truck Farm and Judy will then head over to the the Great Canadian Craft Spring Fling for May 12th.  Also for most of May, you will find the Truck Farm at the Sustainability Expo at Science World for Earth Month. Judy herself will be selling her heirloom seeds at various farmers markets around the Lower Mainland. Watch her Facebook Page for details of where she will be next.

JudyKenzieBootsInPlants

What is remarkable is that, apart from a small Greenest City grant which covers about 10%, Judy pays for the Truck Farm out of her own pocket. The gas, the repairs as well as volunteering her time and resources to teach a new generation how to feed themselves.  Thus, she has now reached out for assistance through crowdfunding. If you are unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia defines it as: “… the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the internet to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”  If you wish to support Judy in her efforts, you can contribute by going to Indiegogo.com.

Judy is changing the world one seed at a time. Now that’s remarkable.

Photo Credit: Judy Kenzie

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