Since he was a child, he has found joy in watching seeds turn to flourishing plants and produce.
Now, his 52 years of growing experience are being put to use for the benefit of the community. In 1996, the local farmer took his love of growing a step further when he purchased a five-acre lot in Garson. Today, the property is home to McGrows Farms and Gardens. Although it's small, the property produces “lots” of fresh vegetables for shoppers wanting organic food grown close to home.
From the greenhouses that are kept in operation from spring to fall, to the seasonal fields, McCall grows “everything that can be grown in Northern Ontario.”
Everything on the farm is done organically — techniques like careful crop rotation and pest control courtesy of frogs and toads mean McCall is able to grow bountiful gardens without any unnatural assistance.
Not only does his technique result in award-winning produce, it results in ample crops.
In recent years, McGrows Farms began producing more than what was needed for farm-gate sales, so McCall started supplying Eat Local Sudbury with his crops.
Peggy Baillie, the managing director of ELS, said working with local farmers like McCall has countless benefits to the community.
By working directly with local farmers, food travels less, arrives fresher, is healthier, offers consumers peace of mind and provides economic benefits to people right here in the city.
Baillie said it's important to establish a solid relationship with local farmers, as they do provide an invaluable service to the community.
FedNor funding is going to make that easier, according to Baille. On Sept. 20, Tony Clement visited the Larch Street grocery shop to announce the funding. The Minister of FedNor said community partners, like ELS, “diversify and strengthen the economy, and create jobs for Canadians.”
A $66,377 investment will help more than 30 farmers and agri-food producers in the region gain access to new retail and wholesale markets, which will lead to business and employment opportunities, he said.
Baillie said this is good news for farmers like McCall.
“We are extremely pleased that the Government of Canada recognizes that agriculture and agri-food products have an important role to play as we look for innovative ways to create jobs, enhance productivity and grow the regional economy,” she said.
Working in the industry does lots to help farmers like McCall by brining a little extra cash to the bank, but it's benefits go beyond that. Farming lets him do what he loves.
“For me, it's a form of horticultural therapy,” McCall said. “It's relaxing. It's inspiring. It's a passion.”