Calgary gardener grows food for charity

CALGARY — A Calgarian with a green thumb spends his downtime growing food for his family, friends and the community at large.

Faraz Raza  loves to spend his free time in the garden, “It’s just my passion, my hobby,” he said,  in a Monday interview with CTV News.

Fortunately for his family and friends, he also likes to share what he grows. “The other thing is I like to give something to the environment,” he said, “and I like to give something to the people and the City of Calgary as well.

Raza grows dozens of tomatoes, a few different types of raspberries and cherries as well as leafy greens, onions, hot peppers and more.  He works full time at a large telecom company and for Raza the garden is a sort of escape from that hectic work. “The biggest advantage with this is, like you know, it just relaxes you so much, takes up a lot of stress from you, takes up a lot of depression and all those things which you see, which is very common nowadays,” he said.

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Last year Raza produced around  63 kilos (140 lbs.) of tomatoes, most of them in a portion of his garage that’s been outfitted with special grow lights.  He also makes his own fertilizers and makes sure that everything he grows is free of toxic chemicals and pesticides. “I want to serve my community. I want to serve you know, the people who are looking for it,” he said.

Besides his numerous donations of garden-grown produce to the local food bank and other community services, Raza is also keen to grow other people’s interest in home gardening.  He’s recruited his son as well as a nephew and a few friends to help him in the garden. 

 “I’m encouraging these two boys to get into this and I want everyone to get into this because this is so much fun.” Raza continues. “I try my level best to encourage and convince people to get into this. It’s not a very easy thing to go with. You need a lot of effort, time and consistency.”

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