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  • Writer's pictureMary Beerman

Why We Grow - I want my kids to know where food comes from, how it grows and how to live a healthy l

There is a house on a hill with a welcoming red door. Handsome timber frame trim blends the home into the well-treed neighbourhood. I am drawn to the red swing under the largest Locust tree I have ever seen in a landscape. Although resisting the urge, I can imagine myself going for a happy swing; leaning back, twisting and turning, dangling my legs under the persistent, green, leafy canopy on this late fall day. I can smell wood and earth. I can feel my heart beat.

Three large, wooden, raised garden beds jutt long and low out onto the sloping front lawn. The daring design brings ideology, form and function simply to an accessible location. It welcomes you to walk up, tinker about, inspect the pollinator house and perhaps snap a bean or two for a nibble. You might even knock on the door to see if the neighbours are home!

This is exactly what Lilli had in mind. As the homeowner and a health coach her life foci are thoughtfully blended; attracting and welcoming, promoting curiousity and action from the roadside. From a horticultural perspective building the beds in the front was a best practice: full sun with good air circulation and access make sure growing, tending and harvesting are successful and easy. Aesthetically front yard gardens are ever changing, full of blooms and pollinators, encouraging environmental awareness and friendly chats.

Lilli and her husband Rowan are busy entrepreneurs with 2 young children. With their time demands gardening is not an extra chore they wanted to schedule into a full work week. In fact Lilli sees herself less as a gardener and more as an activist. The front yard gardens are a public demonstration; just ditch the placards and protesting. Time in the garden weeding and picking is family time for playing and discovery. Stress relief is as natural and as easy as stepping out the front door. Delicious meals area as simple as stepping in the front door with fresh picked food from the garden.

Working with the overgrown plants they inherited and removing invasive Buckthorn shrubs has been part of a good learning curve. Lilli has plans for her family of 4: a natural swimming pool, pollinator gardens and room to live outside. The raised garden beds out in the front yard are the first fruits of her landscape vision. My heart jumped when I first met Lilli and saw her front yard gardens. I can only imagine the impact on her children: coming home from school and walking through food and flowers, snacking in the kitchen or reading in a cozy chair with both back and front yard natural landscapes in view, playing outside around fragrance, blooms, fruits, buzzing insects and singing birds. How sweet is that?! A sweet dream coming true for their mom - her children growing up knowing where their food comes from and how things grow, all so naturally.

Lilli gives her parents credit for her natural lifestyle. They were biodynamic farmers from Europe who brought their 3 young children to Canada to farm organically. Their example must have been consistent and powerful to have all 3 children now grown adults involved with organic food growing, caring for and respecting the environments they live in. Lilli spent enough of her young adult life exploring corporate work, small business and lots of travelling to find a personal voice and life-fit studying nutrition at IIN, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. It changed the way she saw food in her life. The slow juicer, the Thermo Mix and yummy looking organic veggies on her kitchen counters reflect her passion/mission: Food is medicine.

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