Fanshawe horticulture student donations surpass 1,000 lbs of microgreens

A photo of plants growing at Fanshawe's green house. CREDIT: FINCH NEVES
Fanshawe’s Horticulture Technician students have donated over 1,000 lbs to the London Food Bank as part of a student-driven initiative.

In February of 2023, Fanshawe’s Horticulture Technician students began donating microgreens to the London Food Bank and have now surpassed 1,000 lbs donated.

The idea to donate microgreens came from student Brynna Kirkwood, who was looking into building a business surrounding it and saw the aid that it could provide to the Food Bank, which was then supported by the program’s technicians.

Their milestone of 1,000 lbs of microgreens donated is only the beginning, as they can be offered year-round, unlike seasonal produce, and the team has no intention to stop offering the service to the community.

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“Microgreens are like a superfood,” Food Bank Greenhouse Coordinator, Luis Reyes said. “They grow very quickly and are incredibly nutrient rich. Most people find it really simple to add microgreens to a dish, even if they have picky children.”

Over 95 per cent of clients at the Food Bank happily accept microgreens such as basil, cilantro, and parsley when picking up their food. The incorporation of microgreens can brighten meals, while also offering densely packed nutrients.

The Horticulture Technician students have been donating a large variety of fresh produce grown on campus for years, ranging from cherry tomatoes to leafy greens like lettuce and kale, but the inclusion of microgreens has been a welcome addition.

“We can’t offer microgreens everyday, but we would if we could,” Reyes said. “Many people think that all of the food we offer is processed or canned goods, but over half of it is actually fresh items. Lots of items will be selected by some people, but ignored by others, but almost everyone takes microgreens if they are available.”

Fanshawe College and the Food Bank plan to continue their partnership indefinitely, with new plans on the horizon on ways that the college can further contribute.

As food prices continue to rise, many Londoners, including an increasing number of students, rely on the Food Bank to meet their nutritional needs. It provides a vital service to the city and Fanshawe College students have, and continue to be, important contributors.

“We have an incredible relationship with Fanshawe,” said Reyes. “Not only does the horticulture team provide us with donations, but the fashion team also offers recycled textiles for fertilizer, and we have hundreds of monthly volunteers for all kinds of positions. Students who want to join in can go to our website”.

With such a major contribution, the Horticulture Technician students, and Fanshawe students as a whole, have continued to play an important role in feeding the community.