Not one, not two, but three community gardens have been planted at
Saugeen First Nation.
Lori Kewaquom, Cultural Development Co-ordinator, says that
community gardening is a learning process for everyone. "It's a
learning process for the entire community," says Kewaquom.
Tina Roote, who has a passion for gardening, carefully planned and
designed all three gardens focusing on 'companion planting'. "As
every gardener knows," she explains, "each plant takes away and
gives back to the soil very specific things and can complement each
The three gardens are located at the Health Centre, French Bay
Library and the Scotch Settlement Water Tower. "It's really been a
partnership," says Kewaquom. "Our Saugeen Roads Department tilled
the soil for us, a planting crew turned out to do the planting under
Tina's instructions, the Bank Council funded the project and Beagle
Run Nurseries donated give currant bushes. When I sent around a
notice asking for volunteers to help plant, I was surprised that the
majority who offered to help were men. They were terrific."
"This really is an experiment for us too," Kewaquom says. "Each of
the gardens is growing in a different type of soil - loam, clay and
sandy. So we have a chance to see what plants grow best in what
types of soil." Each garden has been planted with things like
potatoes, onions, beets, tomatoes, lettuce and even basil.
The two women are hopeful that the entire community will get
involved in the maintenance of the gardens. Each Saturday, from 3:00
p.m. to 5:00 p.m., garden tools will be made available at each
location and Roote and Kewaquom will be there to answer questions.
"This is about so much more than gardens," says Kewaquom. "It's
about community, encouraging healthy eating, teaching our youth
about what the land has to offer and bringing people together in a
productive yet social experience."
Roote adds that the whole idea means nothing but benefits for
everyone. "Fresh produce is expensive," she says, "and this way the
entire community can share in the harvest. Also, everyone wants food
that is locally grown and is organic."
"We're hoping this turns into an annual project," Kewaquom points
out. "We are going to try all kinds of things related to the
gardens. Next year, we hope to also plant a medicinal garden of
herbs. We've also had all kinds of suggestions from the community,
including teaching canning and preserving, distributing product to
the Elders, setting up a produce mini-market, donating to the Food
Bank and, of course, holding an annual End-of-Summer Community
15/07/2009 10:15 PM
Tina Roote with her son Waylon who spends the days with mom in the garden
or sleeping nearby
Health Centre garden is meticulously planted in neat, orderly rows
French Bay library garden is sandy soil based but doing well
Scotch Settlement garden lies at the foot of the water tower installed by