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May. 17, 2021 | Monday
Local News
Garden plots at B-Y's Honey Farm prove popular
Plots of land ready to be used for summer gardens. (Jessica Maxwell)

Fatima Baig
Special to The Lake Report

It's a good thing B-Y's Honey Farm has lots of space – because its 50 rental plots for people to grow their own organic food are almost sold out.

As of this week, owner Ed Unger said only one plot was still available for rent. And the success of the endeavour means he'll consider expanding the number of plots available in the future.

Unger says people can use the plots to produce their own food with only one condition: no pesticides or chemical sprays can be used.

He said the goal is to provide a space for people who otherwise wouldn't have an area to grow their own food. The plots cost $80 for a 10-by-20 foot space and $50 for a 10-by-10 spot.

Unger attributes the success of the plots to people understanding the idea of organic and healthy living.  “I think people really get the idea to get real products out there and stay natural.”

Growing organic food is healthier than buying food, since many foods are grown using pesticides, he said.

"We don't allow any pesticides to be used here, so everything is grown naturally."

He also said parents and families are interested in renting out plots because they want to be able to get outside with their kids.

“I find it very good for kids to get muddy and dirty. They need to know a little bit about nature and get involved and a lot of parents say that’s what they are looking forward to.” 

Graham Shanks is among those renting a plot from B-Y’s Honey Farm. 

The Old Town resident first got into growing his own food for the enjoyment – and the fresher taste of the food. He is growing vegetables in his home garden but also rented out a plot on B-Y’s to grow more. 

Shanks grew up in England, where community garden plots are common. "It was a great way to feed families and cut back on the cost of vegetables and the food that you put on the table,” he said.

He also enjoys seeing his grandchildren eat the vegetables out of the garden and learn from him about growing vegetables. They learn "a little bit from me as far as where the vegetables come from and how they grow.”

Shanks said he shares the vegetables he grows with family and friends.

“When our friends found out that I got one of the allotments they all commented that they were all looking forward to seeing the vegetables that I am going to bring and be handing over to them this year. So, they obviously look forward to the fresh vegetables out of the garden as well,” he said.

At B-Y's, Unger is also the beekeeper. He said he has been doing beekeeping his whole life and comes from three-plus generations of beekeepers who have kept bees in Russia and South America.

He wants to encourage people to grow their own food, which he says has both financial and health benefits compared to store-bought fruits and vegetables. Renting plots of land for gardens is a great way for people to see those benefits first-hand, he said.

"We have 52 acres here, so we just see what's going on with land prices and food prices going up and with what's going on. People want to get outside and stuff, so we decided we wanted to offer a natural approach for people to come out and grow their own food," said Chris Chabot, marketing manager at B-Y's.

Unger said renting out plots allows for more food to be grown on the farm and gives people the ability to produce their own food.

"There are many people who live in apartments and don't have a place where they can actually grow things. We have plenty of land here, so we'll give them an opportunity to do something with their family," he said.

The work and labour is left to whoever rents the plot. However, for those new to gardening or planting, people who work on the farm are available to offer tips and advice.