Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris) is a variety of the Beet species in the Amaranth family. The plant originated in the Mediterranean , on the island of Sicily. Unlike the other beet family members, it does not develop the root as the main food but rather the leaves dominate.
Having said that, you can have a Swiss Chard root, like a parsnip that is over a foot long and 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters (cm.) in diameter. This helped it survive 6 weeks of terrible smoke in Kelowna (2016 and 2017) where the beans and peas with more shallow roots, did not. Hot, smokey and no sun for weeks is the worst of growing conditions but the Swiss Chard actually grew in response to the water
Chris’s Healthy Edibles notes these health benefits (For Educational Purposes Only):
green leaves with red, yellow or white stalks; helps improve bone & cardiovascular health, brain function, nerves, muscles, enzymes & fertility; fights premature aging, promotes healthy skin & hair; helps prevent osteroporosis (fragile bone) & helps with managing high blood pressure & blood sugar levels; lessens the risk of bacterial diseases, stress, anxiety, Type 1 diabetes, Alzheimer disease, arthritis, anemia & age-related vision loss, including macular degeneration of the eyes; helps reduce night time muscle leg cramping. CAUTION: contains high amounts of oxalic acid that limits the amount of calcium the body can absorb; to counter this, eat with foods high in vitamin c like citrus fruit or fresh tomatoes (not canned) or boil for 1 minute
Swiss chard is in any natural food store you walk into, it grows well in BC (and probably Alberta too) but all you see in the stores is food from California. In the garden this plant lasts in the ground and you can harvest the outside leaves all season. Canadians eat around 0.3 pounds, about what they consume of Kale.
Is Swiss Chard a profitable crop for young farmers selling to consumers? It is a heavy feeder of nitrogen.