'Growing a bond with your neighbours,' Lakeside, Ont. micro-farmer grows produce for struggling families

After seeing how families are struggling amidst the pandemic, Jeff King, a micro-farmer in Lakeside, Ont., says he is determined to help by growing free local produce for families who need it most.

“I’ve been here my whole life, you feel an attachment to the community, you watch it grow. And if you can be a contributor to your community it strengthens it, you grow a bond with your neighbours.”

Jeff King, farmer and father of two boys, has been working on his micro-farm for the last four years, providing produce for his own family and selling local food to Lakeside community members.

‘People are having a tough time, this pandemic is going on longer than they expected, their savings are diminishing…I feel just by helping there's a little bit of comfort that they don’t have to worry.”

This year, he wants to double down on his vegetable operation so he can help families put food on the table in spring and summer of 2021.

“Tomatoes, cucumbers, a lot of lettuce, last year I tried ground cherries, just anything that's a main staple you can preserve.”

He also hopes to grow a lot of winter produce, such as potatoes and squash.

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King has started a fundraiser to help him, his wife and his two sons expand his micro-farm to grow more produce. The more produce he has the more families he says can help.

“A lot of families are struggling just to pay the mortgage, just to pay rent. If I can help with one of the major expenses, which is groceries, the money they would have spent on groceries can go towards keeping a roof over their heads.”

King says for every $800 raised he’ll be able to provide one family with produce every week during the growing season.

Norman Mclaughlin, the Ontario sales representavie for Thunderstruck Ag Equipment, says the company is making a donation to get King started.

‘I’ve known Jeff easily for 20 years. Jeff is great, he is always doing something for the community…always doing something for someone else, I was very excited to get involved to feed families and kids.”

Mclaughlin dropped off a $2,500 check to help with costs for growing vegetables and upkeep.

King says the money will help provide food to locals and hopefully to help local shelters.

King says the feedback he has received from community members on social media from has inspired him to continue to do more.

"I want them to feel those vegetables were grown just for them, right from my garden right to their table.”

If you want to donate to King Initiative, click here.

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