For the past four summers, Ontario’s most Northern community has been growing all kinds of delicious fruits and vegetables in greenhouses. In December, I called Lydia Mathews, one of Fort Severn First Nation’s gardeners, to tell me more about it.
The project started four years ago with a single greenhouse in someone’s yard. Each year since, one or two new greenhouses have popped up in a new yard. The structures draw in curious neighbours, friends and passerby’ers. This year, there were six greenhouses and Mathews thinks that the number will continue to grow.
Gardeners experiment with whatever seeds are available. So far, they’ve grown crops like turnips, potatoes, radishes, green onions, peas, peppers, kale, tomatoes, lettuce and strawberries. Carrots, Mathews says, haven’t seemed to work as well. Greenhouses are made entirely by community members using recycled materials. Plants are grown out of the ground, raised beds, old tires, storage bins… whatever will hold soil.
There’s been interest to turn an old warehouse into a community greenhouse or food space. The chief, a gardener himself, is said to support this idea and wants to help. Fort Severn clearly has a green thumb, and will continue to evolve this community interest through innovative projects like the greenhouses.
Photos coming soon!