CAN: Summerland garden centre sees uptick in interest in home horticulture

As South Okanagan gardeners make their way into local greenhouses this weekend, the Windmill Garden Centre expects to see another strong year of people eager to plant.

Billy Boerboom is the owner and operator of Windmill Gardens and the Apple Barn in Summerland, and has noticed significant growth over the past couple of years. "COVID brought an incredible drive and desire for people to grow their own food and with what was witnessed last November with the floods in the Lower Mainland and Sumas Prairie, the amount of farmland that was affected and people's livelihoods with that," he shared.

"Lots of interest by young people as well. They're realizing that food is pretty important and if you can grow your own it just feels that much better." During the floods, supply chain issues were evident as many grocery stores shelves were bare with produce, vegetables, dairy products and meat cleaned out. This had Okanagan agricultural businesses pushing for a shift in the supply chain, encouraging residents to support the local food system and look into growing their own.

An increased interest in developing a green thumb means the Summerland greenhouse has prepped more this year. "Vegetable production, plant production has increased obviously since COVID and the floods so we are growing a little bit more vegetables and plant material this particular spring. It's bit of a risk but I'm a risk taker every day so it's all good. We'll make it work," Boerboom added with a laugh.

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