Entrepreneurs sell Montrealers on vegetables.

MONTREAL (CUP) — David Symon and Oskar Newsam founded Marché Vivant in the spring of 2013; it has since grown into Installation Vivante, allowing the duo to bring fresh vegetables closer to the kitchen counter. Finding a job straight out of university is often a major source of stress for students, but there are some who choose to create their own careers. Symon and Newsam have dedicated themselves to making personal vegetable gardens more mainstream and easily accessible in Montréal.

As young as their company is, they already completed about two dozen jobs last summer. Each project takes a day or two to complete, starting early in the morning and working through the day. However, their success has not come without a few challenges and a lot of hard work.

“Our biggest challenge has been working with other people, like having employees who are twice our age and way more experienced,” Symon explains. “It’s been challenging to get things done in a respectful manner for everyone.”

They have also been working on how to be taken seriously in the professional world as “kids” in their early twenties.

“Being able to prove ourselves has been a big challenge, which we’ve met successfully,” said Symon.

Installation Vivante has been making gardening accessible to anyone with a little bit of green space, planting gardens in small backyards, balconies and window boxes. Clients can also choose to plant more elaborate gardens that host fruit-bearing trees, such as mulberry, cherry and apple.

There are many widely known benefits to keeping your own garden: having an affordable supply of fresh vegetables, the exponentially greater nutrition levels in fresh food and trusting your food source. Ideally, everyone would have the ability to eat and grow local, organic fruits and veggies — although it has seemed difficult to manage for the average city dweller due to a lack of space or time. The mini-gardens allows for urban produce production.

Not only does planting your own food keep things cheap and convenient, but it’s a big step towards leading a more sustainable life. When you buy fruit and veggies from an industrial farm, it’s difficult to find a truly sustainable option. Options may be local or organic, but aren’t often both.

There are many other factors to consider that are not advertised by the market. What fertilizers do farms use? What water systems could those fertilizers seep in to? What are their irrigation practices?

By helping people keep their own gardens, Installation Vivante is promoting not only local, organic food production, but sustainable water use as well. The window box gardens are self-watering, which is a water saver as well as a time saver; the boxes only need to be re-filled once a week.

The self-watering boxes work by having water directed straight to the roots, as opposed to being sprayed on top of the soil and percolating down. This prevents water from being lost to surface runoff or evaporation.

As a student, Symon has some advice for other students who are thinking of starting their own business; “Work really hard, be prepared not to eat much, be prepared not to sleep much. The biggest key is to love every aspect of what you do. Find ways to integrate your personality and what you love into your business.”

Symon said for his own business he wants multiple crews doing custom projects around Montréal and products that people can buy and install themselves (such as the self-watering boxes).

For those wanting to start their own garden, Symon has some tips for plant care; “Be aware that plants are a lot more sensitive than people give them credit for. If you put good energy into them, they’ll do better. They’re like pets.” He also advised playing music, such as classical and smooth jazz, to gardens to improve their productivity and yes, Mythbusters checked that one.

Read the original article at TheGreenStudent.ca.

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