A wet summer means a smaller harvest for the Ottawa Food Bank

The Ottawa Food Bank says the wet summer has damaged sections of its farm, destroyed crops, and will mean much less produce this fall.

Crops at the Food Bank’s Community Harvest Program farm in Stittsville have been stunted, delayed, or killed by disease, due to the constant rain and cooler temperatures we've seen.

“It’s kind of been the perfect combination of bad weather,” Executive Director Michael Maidment says.

Maidment is renewing calls for donations to fill the gap, and he says buying locally can help.

“It’s not just our farm that’s been affected this year,” Maidment says. “Local farmers right across the region have been affected. So, if you can go to a farmer’s market, support a local farmer, and be willing to donate that to the Ottawa Food Bank, that would be really great.”

Maidment projects the Community Harvest Program will bring in 20 to 25 per cent fewer crops this year, compared to last, which amounts to about 25-thousand pounds of fresh produce.

The information was shared in a video, shared by the Food Bank on Thursday, which showed the extent of the damage to the fields, and the smaller-than-average crops that have so far been harvested.

“It kind of all happened all at the same time,” Maidment says. “There are parts of every farm or field that are lower-lying, so some of the crops sat in water for weeks and they had the root rot. But we also had cooler temperatures, and we had crops that didn’t grow to full size. Then, we had other crops like cauliflower, which were damaged by a hailstorm that came through the farm. Some crops were started late, like squash, because of the wet start to the summer, and now we’re going to run into the situation where the crop probably won’t mature before we get our first frost.”

You can find more information on how to donate here: http://www.ottawafoodbank.ca/donate/