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
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
- Rural Communities are Stronger Together – Keep Government Accountable (liveruralnl.com)
- Revitalizing Rural Communities by Being Reasonable (liveruralnl.com)