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Planting Potatoes & Roadside Gardens

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Maintaining a garden of root crops has always been practiced in my family for generations. I remember spending time there with my father and grandparents, tilling the soil, placing seed and typically digging. For some reason I seldom was around for the weeding process. It was my grandmother who did most of that, as she is the ultimate green thumb. Our family still continues to plant potatoes, as well as carrot, turnip, cabbage, beets, onion and lettuce. I’ve been experimenting with other seeds and spices, and hopefully soon will have a greenhouse to help expand what I am able to grow.

What was needed for subsistence years ago, is now unnecessary given easy access to vegetables at grocery stores. However, it is gratifying to know that so many are continuing this generational tradition. As I travel throughout the District, I see many roadside and backyard gardens that were likely started by their parents or grandparents. There is also renewed interest from younger people to grow different vegetables, establish community gardens, use various techniques and use the space they have available to them in the most productive form.

We have exceptional opportunity to expand farming on the Great Northern Peninsula, in both small and large-scale. We are also lacking a coordinated effort to establish a farmers or local market in many communities. There is opportunity to establish a weekly marketplace where locally grown produce, jams, preserves, crafts and handmade wares are for sale. Coffee and teas and other booths could be set-up, with picnic tables and even some local music.

There are some spaces in the District, where a local marketplace could thrive. Let’s move this idea forward.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

 

 

 

A Marketable Farmer’s Market – Let’s Get Growing

We have lost a generation, maybe two of hobby farmers in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador. My grandparents practiced subsistence farming, ensuring they would have enough potatoes to last throughout the winter months.  They also planted the typical carrots, turnip and cabbage. Why did the majority of their children not follow these practises? I am sure there are a number of reasons, as even Rural Newfoundland & Labrador had more purchasing power and options to purchase produce at the local grocery store.

Today, there is renewed interest among young people, like myself and even from people of my parent’s generation in growing their own produce – A Revolution! It appears there is a sense of enjoyment to the experience of growing your own green things. There is gratification of being rewarded for your own efforts. It is now “fashionable” to be seen sporting your rubber boots and hanging out in the mud, yanking out the weeds. Even my friends, family and co-workers bring up gardening in casual conversation. These are all good measures that can lead to more local and regional business development.

Today, I’ve pulled one of my romaine lettuce from my garden bed. It is one of several that were planted as a test. It is very encouraging, as I see the red onion, green onion, onion and carrots srouting up nicely.

On a recent vacation to Montreal, Quebec I had the pleasure of visiting the Jean-Talon Market, which is open year-round and takes up space of what would be two streets. The former bus station terminal has been converted to host parking, specialty boutiques and office space. There were so many varieties of fruits and vegetables. Also, one could buy ice-cream. fresh meats, breads, ice ciders, wines and of course maple syrup. I managed to pick some up some of the maple sweet stuff and a nice bottle of ice cider. Certainly a treat!

A local co-op may be interested or one could be formed to promote local gardening, community gardens and work to establish a seasonal farmer’s market. This venue may also be utilized during special occasions, such as the holiday season for local preserves, baked goods and craft items.

As the issue of food security continues to be a concern for Newfoundland & Labrador. Growing local produce is a good practise, it ensures quality, pesticide free and can be a lower cost solution as these items do not require shipping from other parts of Canada and the world.

Let’s Make a Marketable Farmer’s Market in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador!

Get Growing –

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

 

Place of Provincial Significance – Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital

Live Rural NL blog sends congratulations to the Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital, Norris Point, NL for being designated a Place of Provincial Significance in 2011.  Thank you Joan Cranston, Director, a committed  volunteer and community activist for taking the time to make this worthy nomination as the Center is truly worthy of this designation. To read more about the BBCH click the following link: http://www.seethesites.ca/designations/bonne-bay-cottage-hospital.aspx

Julia Ann Walsh Heritage Center

The Julia Ann Walsh Heritage Center is well-known for being the former Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital. After the construction of a new clinic in Norris Point, the fate of the building was unknown. However, community spirit and a group of dedicated volunteers worked together to ensure that this building of historical significance could continue to serve the community.

The BBCHHC is a not-for-profit community corporation whose mandate is the adaptive re-use of the center for the preservation of local culture and heritage (including arts, crafts, music and oral history), the promotion of health and wellness, and community economic and social development.” JuliaAnnWalshHeritageCenter

Today the Center is home to:

  1. Norris Point Public Library and CAP Site – 458-3368;
  2. Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital Heritage Corporation – 458-3072;
  3. Norris Point International Backpackers Hostel – 458-3072 OR 458-8880;
  4. VOBB (Voice of Bonne Bay) Community Radio Station;
  5. Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival Committee – 458-3399;
  6. Cottage Hospital Physiotherapy and Fitness – 458-2875;
  7. Norris Point Harbour Authority – 458-2647;
  8. Bonne Bay Ground Search and Rescue Team – 458-2222 (RCMP);
  9. Writers at Woody Point Festival

They have a studio space, which is available for rent to conduct meetings, classes for health, well-ness, art, crafts, music, storytelling and other economic and social development activities. The Center is working to build a community garden, greenhouses and a community kitchen. The importance of growing local is gaining momentum and garnering interest from locals and travellers to grow and buy local produce. This is a community space, a social commons. It is amazing the progress that can be achieved by working with others, fostering strong partnerships, establishing co-operatives and meeting the needs of the greater community. Is there room for a Place of Similar Social Significance in the Straits of Belle Isle region? St. Anthony & Greater Area? Northern Peninsula East Heritage Corridor? We must let the movers & shakers, the residents and stakeholders of these communities decide if this is something they feel is a good fit with their needs, wants and norms.

Also the Nomination Deadline of June 15, 2011 is quickly approaching. If you think a person, event, place or tradition is significant in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador then click the link below:

http://www.seethesites.ca/currently-at-commemorations/2011/6/9/next-nomination-deadline-approaching.aspx?altTemplate=CommDiaryPost

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula –

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

www.liveruralnl.com

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