TD Green Streets continues to support Saugeen First Nation's Forestry Gardens
by Sandy Lindsay


First Nations

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TD Green Streets donates $25,000 to Saugeen First Nation Agri-Forestry development

Program Coordinator, Gregg Roote accepts TD award with Mandy Hutter and daughter Maylee

Gregg Roote, Project Leader (R) explains the land that will be developed for future community garden expansion

Thanks to the support of TD Green Streets environmental program, Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) continues to move forward with its 'agri-forestry' development of community gardens.

"Mandy has introduced us to agri-forestry so that we can grow better produce for the community," says Gregg Rotte, Project Leader. "What we are doing is for the next generation and we want to get the young people involved.  We are trying to bring back to our culture, what has been lost and the benefits of our hard work today that will be realized by future generations."

(L-R) Tm Lalonde (Aboriginal Banking), Tim Edgar (C) Port Elgin Branch Manager and Justin King

On Tuesday, May 24th, Project Leader Gregg Roote, lead a tree planting on Saugeen land with TD Green Streets Executive and local Port Elgin branch manager, Tim Edgar, taking part along with with Trees Canada's, Community Advisor Ed Borczon. 

TD's Tara Clark digs in as Tim Edgar and Mandy Hutter (R) keep a close eye on the planting 

Tim Lalonde prepared to plant a Hickory as Mandy Hutter gave directions

TD Green Streets has been in partnership with Trees Canada that has planted some 80 million trees across Canada in order to improve the urban canopy.  In 2012, the tree planting initiative began in Saugeen Shores with trees also being offered to Saugeen First Nation.

Since then SON has moved forward with its own planting programs of agri-foresting. 

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Last year, the Forest Garden and the Scotch Settlement community garden were begun. Scotch Settlement garden is actually the second community garden developed by Saugeen First Nation.

The land that once belonged to the Cameron family was sold to the Saugeen Band Council many years ago and has subsequently been turned over to the community garden initiative in order to grow vegetables and fruits in a sustainable community garden.

In its first year in its new location (2015), the garden produced an incredible 1,400 lbs. of vegetables.  This year, it is anticipated that the garden will produce even more.  "The produce," says Gregg Roote, "is divided up within the community.  The elders receive the first bounty followed by those most in need."
Joan Cameron once lived on the land that is now becoming a community garden
The Cameron family were the former owners of the property.  "When my family lived on this land," says Joan Cameron looking around, "we had a small home garden near the house that was down by the trees, but nothing like this is."

For 35 years, this ground was unused and, according to Roote, water and soil samples were taken and came back in excellent condition.

The field is currently being ploughed and planted with alternate rows of vegetables and a wide variety of  trees.  "The trees," explains Mandy Hutter," shade the ground to retain moisture, serve as wind breaks and attract birds and insects vital to growth. We are actually creating an eco-system and we have to be careful when we are planting not to disturb the wildlife, such as nesting birds."

So far, with the help of many volunteers there have been more than 100 trees planted in the area.

"Thanks to Akroyd Honey of Tara who brought some hives in," says Hutter, "we are also introducing bees to the gardens for pollination."

"We want this program to be a real educational tool for our young people," adds Roote, "so that they can learn how to create eco-systems, how to develop sustainable growing methods and how to become closer to the land and its medicines in a traditional way." 

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Thursday, May 26, 2016