Many people associate the local food movement with food grown on farms, but in reality plenty of food is foraged, sourced and harvested from waterways locally in Nogojiwanong and across the world.
One such food with particular cultural, historical and culinary significance in our region is Manoomin, an Anishinaabeg word meaning the “good berry”, known to some as wild rice. For countless generations, manoomin has been integral to the health and well-being of Michi Saagiig Nishinaabeg. Manoomin harvesting is a timeless, seasonal tradition that transfers cultural intergenerational knowledge. Learn about the spiritual and reciprocal relationships between manoomin and the Michi Saagiig Nishinaabeg (Pine Tree Talks)
There is a great upcoming Pine Tree Talk series, called Manoomin: The Good Seed, hosted by Trent University. This three-part webinar series aims to provide foundational information about Anishinaabe Manoomin (wild rice) and its importance in the territories of the Michi Saagiig Nishinaabeg. Even though manoomin has been growing in the Kawarthas for at least 4,000 years, many people know little about this nutritious seed and its current revitalization in local waterways.
Check out this great video by local film-maker Brian Mitolo featuring James Whetung of Black Duck Rice to learn more about the process of growing and harvesting manoomin
Anishinaabe Manoomin (Northern Wild Rice) is an ecologically vital freshwater plant species, a key element of Anishinaabeg traditions, health and economy, and a culturally sacred, sustainable food source. The health and protection of Anishinaabe Manoomin is critical to the Kawartha Lakes ecosystem and the broader Great Lakes watershed. The Indigenous Peoples of this territory, the Michi Saagiig and Chippewa Anishinaabeg, have inherent responsibilities and rights to protect, restore, and revitalize their relationships with Manoomin. These include their own ecological, cultural, and economic food systems, which predate colonial settlement in all townships where Manoomin beds exist today or have existed (including in the County of Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes, and Northumberland County). To learn more about the importance of Manoomin & to sign on to help protect, it check out this Declaration for the Protection of Manoomin
Every year, migrant farm workers come from across Mexico and the Caribbean to support the physically-demanding work of agriculture in Canada through the federal Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. The workers are essential in ensuring the success and stability of our national food infrastructure; pre-pandemic, over 20,000 migrant workers worked on farms and in greenhouses in Ontario alone. (New Canadians Centre Peterborough) Learn more about the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) from the federal government.
Although much of this work is critical to, and often associated with large scale fruit picking and greenhouse production, there are several farms in our region who rely on the hard-work, skills and dedication of migrant workers as part of their team in order to produce food for our region.
When thanking our farmers for all that they do, it is important to remember the diversity of farmers that exist in our region and just how essential all of them, including many migrant farmers that come to local farms every season, are to putting fresh food on our tables across the region.
This season, Lunar Rhythm Gardens did a series of #MeetTheFarmers posts that gave customers and eaters across the region the chance to get to know some of these migrant farmers working on their farm. Check out their facebook page to learn more. One such profile introduced us to Jaime, he is from Chiapas, a mountainous region in Southern Mexico. There he works in the Coffee Fields. His wife’s name is Marcelina and they have three children. Two boys and a girl. His favourite sport is soccer and he roots for the Cruz Azul team. His favourite food is Tamales. Jaime has been working in Canada for five seasons, mostly in St. Jerome. Quebec. This is his first year working at Lunar Rhythm Gardens.
This spring the Peterborough Examiner posted a piece about the critical contributions of migrant labourers to our local agricultural systems. In the article Erin MClean of McLeans Berry Farm: “points out that without migrant workers the farm couldn’t survive, and the skilled jobs it provides to local workers would disappear … She is also full of praise for her Mexican crew, loyal, reliable workers who return year after year and become “our extended summer family.” McLean Berry Farm has a total of 15 migrant workers, some of which have been working there for nearly 20 years.
Without the help of their annual staff, McLean said they wouldn’t be able to harvest their crops. “They’re here, they’re reliable, they know what they’re doing, and they’re invaluable. They’re just a great group of guys,” McLean said.
“We’ve got cousins, brothers, siblings and all sorts of different guys that come together that are actually family, and then they just become our extended summer family,” she said. “We use lots of local labour, but they’re our core harvesting team.”
According to the Lindsay Advocate , the on-set of the covid pandemic created greater strain on this system. This spring, the Advocate learned that the largest field vegetable operation in Kawartha Lakes won’t have a crop without their workers. The farm – which declined to be identified – grows more than 500 acres of vegetables, and has on-farm storage for over 1,500 tonnes of vegetables which are marketed to grocery stores throughout the winter, spring and into early summer, says Maloney.
In Kawartha Lakes there are five farms participating in the program with a total of 43 workers involved. The farms vary in number of workers in the program from a single worker to the large vegetable farm that employs the group of 30. At least one farm said if they can’t get their workers this year, they won’t be able to plant a crop.
This season, we saw like many other things, challenges faced by migrant farmers enhanced by the covid-19 pandemic, and many of these essential workers faced great risk of contracting the virus. Although many local farmers were able to provide safe conditions for migrant farmers, this was unfortunately not the case across the country. To learn more about campaigns around Justice For Migrant Workers check out Food Secure Canada, Harvesting Freedom, & Justice for Migrant Workers
Let’s send a huge thank-you to ALL of our regions farmers for making sure there is food to eat!
Cards sent from community members to local migrant farmers through a New Canadian Centre campaign
Growing your own garlic is fun & easy! Garlic fresh from the garden is a taste that is hard to beat, it’s fragrant, flavourful & very good for you. Now, before the snow starts flying, is the perfect time to plant garlic.
One of the greatest things about growing garlic, is, all you need is garlic! Local garlic is best, as it is adapted to growing in our region & at times, garlic shipped from afar can be sprayed so it will not sprout, and in order to grow, it needs to sprout! So head on down to a local farmers’ market, or visit some great local farms such as Selwyn Garlic to pick up some bulbs and plant your own!
The Seasoned Spoon is pleased to announce our first ever Online Community Meal and Film Screening on Wednesday October 21st from 5:30 – 7:00pm
While we are saddened it is not yet possible to join together in person, we are still excited to keep this wonderful tradition alive in the virtual sphere for now. Please join us for a potluck-style Zoom hangout followed by a short film and panel discussion. Invite your friends and family to join too. Everyone welcome. This event is free.
When many people think about eating locally, they picture summer & fall market stands full of abundant local produce and all the amazing fresh fruits and vegetables available in warmer months, but, did you know that you can eat locally year round?
The following are some great ways to eat locally throughout the year:
Learn what is in season and when. Eating seasonally means you are getting fresh, nutritious foods, and they are usually more affordable at peak season! Be sure to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables when they are most abundant, enjoy, and consider canning, freezing or otherwise preserving the bounty when it is available. Below is a great chart, and you can also find lots of links & accompanying recipes from FoodLand Ontario
Eat seasonally: Even the depth of winter can offer an abundance of mushrooms, root crops, squashes and greenhouse grown greens so that you can enjoy fresh produce year round! Visit year-round Farmers’ Markets including Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market and Peterborough Farmers’ Market on Saturdays to stock up on these and other local year round products.
Get to know your meat & dairy producers for year round local food! Check out our newly developed & ever growing list of local farmers at Peterborough Farm Fresh to learn about purchasing local food year round!
Sweeten up: You can purchase honey and maple syrup year round to sweeten up delicious recipes!
Here in the Peterborough region, we are lucky to have a huge diversity of farmers, producers and distributors working hard to fill the tables of community members with the freshest most delicious food available!
This Thanksgiving, why not celebrate with a local meal? This thanksgiving may look different than many in the past, perhaps you are skipping the extra large family meal, celebrating with your bubble or hoping for beautiful weather to eat outside. No matter how you celebrate, you can fill your table with fresh local food!
There are many local Farmers’ Markets that will be open on Saturday October 10th, and the week leading up to the long weekend, be sure to stop by to stock up on all kinds of local meats, vegetables, dairy, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, treats and decorations for your tables!
If you would rather order ahead, or skip the market, you can check out Peterborough Farm Fresh for a growing listing of local farmers and look for those taking pre-orders or offering farm pick-ups!
Did you know that if each person spent just $5 per week on Local Food, it would inject $55 million into our local economy annually? Farmers work hard year round to ensure that we have access to fresh delicious foods, this year more than ever they need your support, so why not serve the best food possible, support our local economy and show them some love at the same time? Buy Local, Buy Fresh!
Join Nourish, and local gardening experts for our upcoming Ask A Grower sessions!
Every two weeks, we will host an on-line garden check-in. We will focus on a seasonal topic, invite special guest experts & leave lots of time for trouble shooting & questions!
Bring your gardening challenges, wins and quandaries!
Potential topics are as follows, but are subject to change based on our Guest Gardener Experts and seasonal challenges gardeners are facing! If you are a gardening expert with knowledge to share, know of someone who you think would be a great workshop guest, or have a topic you would like to see us discuss, let us know!