Monday, August 08, 2011

Good neighbours

I have been thinking a lot recently about how lucky we are to be working next to two established organic farms as we progress in this project. Not only for obvious reasons, like the privilege of working on certified organic land (even if we ourselves are not certified) and gaining access to machinery that we otherwise would not have, both farms being nice enough to till our fields and retill once weeds took over some beds.  Side note, last year we spent a good day turning over our soil with shovels and manpower in only two beds before asking to use the Hort Center’s tractor. What I am thinking about is the access to knowledge and support on a level that we probably wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. Getting advice, for example about how to make beets grow (stomp on them, they love good contact with the soil) and how to keep lettuce fresh on sweltering market days is certainly a plus. It’s great to share in the glory of the first summer squash, the first red tomato. I get the feeling that people are into this project and are happy to see us doing well. It’s interesting to think that in other types of work these farms would be our “opposition”. We sell our vegetables right across form Ferme Carya at the Ste Anne farmers’ market. Chances are if someone buys our carrots they won’t be going to Carya, and vice-versa. Where you would expect competitiveness there is instead a strong sense of community. It makes me think that even though technically we all need money to keep our businesses and projects afloat we are in this more for the movement toward more healthy land, food and people, first and foremost. 

Sunday, August 07, 2011


I went on a Wikitrail

/Wikitrail/: n. A haphazard path traced through the internet from subject to subject, with no particular aim in mind, mainly orchestrated by the phrases in a Wikipedia article which lead to other pages, and by the Google search engine

this morning, and I found out about a few things and people - best shared by sharing the links that lead me there:

Fukuoka Farming, "Natural Farming" or "Do-Nothing Farming":

The Soil and Health Library: This is an ONLINE library!!! You can get digital copies of books that are in the public domain, or out of print. I really hope you click this link and just see the kinds of books they're carrying.

Lady Eve Balfour & her Haughley Experiment:

The book "The Value of Voluntary Simplicity" by Richard B Gregg. (you can access it through the soil and health library for free, or buy a lifetime membership, which I did today :P)

Looks like I've got to go catch my ride (visiting some farms in Arundel today), even though my zucchini bread is still in the oven and has the dampest center I've ever seen! (I added too much zucchini, so it has too much water) What happens when you leave a half-baked bread in the oven and finish cooking it later? ..... I guess I'll find out this afternoon!


Friday, August 05, 2011


Such a nice week, so much sunshine. And Thursday morning was the perfect weather to harvest - clouds keeping us from burning up, air not too cool. Keeps the vegetables from getting soft while we clean them since our wash station has no roof.

Found out how to make a donate button using a secure payment carrier! Now on our website we can receive donations through Paypal. We also have a call out for ongoing donations of rubber bands, wicker baskets, and reusable grocery bags.

Also, found out about a family that's in the business of individual composting toilets - if you check out the Humanure Handbook (there's a link to it in the right side of our blog) you can see what they're all about.

Since the first time I ever used a composting toilet inside a building (not an outhouse, the Ecolodge in Moose Factory in northern Ontario: Cree Village Ecolodge) I've been imagining ways to retrofit all our buildings to allow for composting toilets. The experience of learning about composting toilet systems, combined with my first visit to a large scale water treatment plant in a typical city a few years ago, has made me yearn to live somewhere long enough or conscious enough to have composting toilets, or greywater systems, and stop using anywhere from 8-20 litres of FRESH water when nature calls.

An intermediate option is to modify existing toilets to have the 2-flush setting, which I bet you've seen at least once before. I was cruising the web and found a provider of a DIY (do-it-yourself) toilet adaptation to make your toilet have adjustable flushes. Great! See The Twoflush website. There are probably a lot of other ones out there. I've never known someone who changes a typical toilet so I don't know if it's 100% successful. If you try it out or have an idea of whether these modifications work, please comment!

When reading about the adjustable flush systems it seemed there were a lot of comments about how these systems are more common abroad than in North America. What exactly is it about our lifestyle, our social environment, the way we're taught and live, that we keep building and installing the less sustainable options?

Bye for now!