Market Monday :: An Urban Twist

Lactuca photos taken by co-owner and urban farmer Kevin Kossowan.

Lactuca photos taken by co-owner and urban farmer Kevin Kossowan.

124 Grand Market (124 St & 108 Ave) - Thursdays 4-8pm  

Kevin Kossowan and Travis Kennedy are self-proclaimed “plant geeks.”

They can both discuss in great detail the subtle differences between “magenta spreen,” “minutina” and “frisée.” To most of us, these words don’t mean much, but to them, these words have come to mean a great deal. Even so far as their livelihood.

Kennedy founded Lactuca in 2012, which is essentially a modest backyard farm, located in the heart of Edmonton, where he and Kossowan, co-owner and fellow urban farmer, grow an endless array and expanding variety of leafy greens (with the occasional purple, blue and yellow hues).

They do so using no-till practices; absolutely zero fossil fuel-eating machines and all-season extension approaches, such as solar and geothermal assets. Lactuca, which literally means “lettuce” in Latin, operates as efficiently and organically as possible.

Kossowan even makes use of rainwater for irrigation and most of their crop is delivered to consumers via bicycle. Said consumers include local eateries like Duchess Bake Shop, Three Boars, Canteen, and RGE RD Diner – all of whom are dedicated to serving as many locally sourced ingredients on their menus as possible.

“We usually describe our growing method as without pesticides or herbicides and we use compost as fertilizer. At market, that seems to be what folks are looking for,” said Kossowan. He explained that the notion of ‘urban farm’ comes from the same concept as the old wartime Victory Gardens, which were meant to take pressure off of the public food supply during WWI and WWII.

Lactuca currently crops between four to six times a season and is harvested weekly. “We are exclusively at the 124 market this year, we love the vibe. Travis lives a couple blocks away from it. I'm a short bike ride away. The restaurants have bought out so much of our supply that we're not looking for additional market opportunities at the moment.”

Christina Weichel is sharing her summer market discoveries for City and Dale. She is a freelance writer and photographer currently living in downtown yeg. She’s also an avid runner/aspirant yogi/fashion aficionado/occasional gypsy and housewife to her cat.