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GrassRoots Growers: All Good News Susan Rehner


e are very pleased to announce that in June two deserving students in the Fleming College Sustainable Agriculture program received bursaries from Grassroots Growers: Emily Claire Colley and Dipudaman Singh. Both students are currently doing summer co-op placements suited to their particular interests as part of their Fleming program. Emily is working this summer in Prince Edward County at Floralora Flowers www.floraloraflowers.com, where cut flowers are grown sustainably and sold at various outlets as well as to CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) customers. Dipudaman’s placement is with Wicklow Way www.wicklowway.ca near Colborne, an organic vegetable farm which also has a CSA component.

Emily Claire Colley, Fleming College Sustainable Agriculture program student and recipient of a GrassRoots Growers’ bursary.

Both students kindly provided details of their experience and goals for us to share with you. Emily was introduced to growing plants at an early age through family members: her mother was a florist and her brother, who studied horticulture, helped her plant her first vegetables. While at high school she took part in an outdoor education program where, through two inspiring teachers, she developed an interest in permaculture, sustainable growing, and environmental stewardship. This led to valuable experiences as a WWOOFer. The acronym WWOOF stands for WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms and refers to an international exchange network that pairs volunteers with organic farmers and growers. Emily followed her WWOOFing time by growing vegetables on an organic community plot at Ignatius Farm in Guelph, where she realized that her great love was growing. Knowing at last that she wanted to be a farmer, Emily enrolled in the Sustainable Agriculture program at Fleming College, where she could take the courses she needed to farm ecologically. While at Fleming College she has developed a keen interest in locally grown flowers and food, and she hopes to have her own farm eventually. She takes inspiration from two Fleming graduates who run Zocalo Organic Farm www.zocaloorganics.ca, a successful, sustainable business. Dipudaman grew up in northern India, in the Punjab, where agriculture is the dominant economy. At the urging of his parents and brother, he studied agriculture, working toward a B.Sc. While at college he discovered the YouTube channel How to Make Everything and became excited at the prospect of growing and processing food to create new products, and in devising new methods of growing and processing that he could share with

others around the world. Once he completed his Bachelor’s degree he searched for a college in Canada where he could pursue this interest and discovered Fleming College. Through his summer placement on an organic farm, Dipudaman has been introduced to some new vegetables not grown in India. Perhaps he will be able to reciprocate and introduce some vegetables from India that are new to Canadian farming. He feels, as we do, that it is important to encourage people to become involved in growing fresh, organic food, even in a small backyard kitchen garden. Eventually, Dipudaman would like to apply what he learns in Canada to agriculture back in India – cross-pollination on a large scale. We wish both these young people success in their studies and in their future as agriculturalists. The world needs more dedicated organic farmers. GrassRoots Growers’ 9th annual plant sale held on May 26 was a resounding success – the best yet according to customers. A sign on each of the 17 plant tables directed buyers to what they wanted, whether it was heirloom tomatoes, annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, shade plants, pollinator plants, or trees and shrubs. There was even a table labelled “Bad Manners,” a surprisingly popular table, and a table marked “Precious and Few.” We were told that our sale was the best organized and offered the widest selection of plants. Of course, holding such a large sale requires a lot of work on the part of the steering committee, as well as the valued help of volunteers and the generous support of those who contribute plants. The money raised provides the Fleming College bursaries mentioned above, funds for community projects, and pays the expenses for our fall and spring events. The sale’s success ultimately depends on


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those who come and buy, and we thank you for your support. May your gardens flourish. Our fall event will be held on October 16. GrassRoots Growers is planning a roundtable Q & A discussion with local experts in different fields. Panellists Dorothy Wagar Oogarah, Karen ten Cate, John Wise, Blair Richards Koeslag, and Susie Meisner will answer your questions on garlic growing and processing, seed collection and storage, seasonal crop growing, edible wild and garden plants, and flower growing and propagation. Susie will act as moderator to keep things from getting out of hand. So come with questions and leave with information that has been gathered from long experience. Details of the fall event, when finalized, will be sent to those on our e-list, posted on our website and on Facebook, and published in the October/November SCOOP. Please mark October 16 on your calendar. It should be a highly informative and lively evening. Tamworth/Erinsville GrassRoots Growers is a community-based group. Our mission is to encourage interest in local and organic gardening for both the home garden and the market garden; to raise awareness of issues surrounding food production; to improve our practical knowledge of all aspects of plant life; and to provide networking opportunities for gardeners. We welcome new members. Visit our website at te-grassrootsgrowers. weebly.com.

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Dipudaman Singh, Fleming College Sustainable Agriculture program student and recipient of a GrassRoots Growers’ bursary.

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August / September 2018 • The SCOOP


Profile for The SCOOP

The SCOOP // August / September 2018  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...

The SCOOP // August / September 2018  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...