Sovereignty Gardens: Growing in Arnprior - theHumm February 2021
Sovereignty Gardens: Growing in Arnprior - theHumm February 2021
By David Hinks
I find it very encouraging to meet young enthusiastic gardening entrepreneurs. Shelby Gibson’s business in Arnprior, Sovereignty Gardens, is in the beginning stages. She is planning to offer a variety of seedlings (vegetables and herbs mainly). They will be posted on her website sovereigntygardens.ca for purchase in late winter and pickup in the spring. She is also developing herbal products.
Her motivation for gardening is one that really resonates with me. Basically, she gardens because she can’t help it. Like me, she started at a very early age with her grandmother, and gardening has become an essential part of who she is. She finds that it truly is a hopeful act to plant a seed and believe that it will rise from the ground and turn into something, particularly something that we need such as food and medicine.
Shelby’s formal education built on her early knowledge of plants and horticulture. She completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) with a joint major in Biology and Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University, and became increasingly involved in food security issues. After her undergraduate degree she completed a Master of Environmental Studies at York University with a concentration in Sustainable Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation. Her goal was to gain an understanding of how we can grow food in a way that works in conjunction with the natural world — her particular focus was on pollinators. She has furthered that research and is currently working on her doctorate, focusing on the role of wild bees to North American Indigenous food and medicine plants.
Sovereignty Gardens provides people with organic heirloom varieties of medicine and food plants, including seeds and seedlings. There is a focus on true native plants, as opposed to non-native or hybrids of native plants that are often available in nurseries.
Shelby has also started to create herbal products, such as balms and butters, using plants grown by Sovereignty Gardens. When her first child was born with severe eczema, she started researching how plants might be able to help and created an eczema lotion using natural products including garden-grown calendula. She has begun creating other products, which can be found on her Facebook page (@TheBalmMom) as an alternative to the conventional options available for personal care products.
Shelby’s future business plans include accessing a larger portion of land that would include construction of greenhouses (for seedlings), and planting of perennial plants (native plants and herbs). Her intent would be for this to be a place for growing and selling plants as well as a garden demonstrating what gardening in connection with nature can look like. Once this is established, Sovereignty Gardens would offer a variety of educational opportunities and workshops.
She observes that it is becoming increasingly important that people build resiliency into their lives. One way this can be accomplished is through growing our own food and medicines. Sovereignty Gardens wants to provide the opportunity for people to have access to the basic necessities they may need for gardening — which may in turn lead to, even if in a small way, self-sufficiency.
Shelby’s approach is focused on gardening in conjunction with the natural world. Diseases and pests are dealt with by addressing imbalances in the ecosystem. What she learned from studying Permaculture is that we can learn a lot by sitting back and watching nature and opening up the opportunity to learn how things run most efficiently.
Shelby believes that food security does not go far enough. She prefers to focus on food sovereignty. Food sovereignty means having the power and ability to grow our own food, including access to seeds and seedlings and the knowledge and education of how to grow food. Focusing on food security is a short-term goal, while bringing the focus onto food sovereignty can actually begin to provide resolution to long-term problems, since it gives people the ability to feed themselves (rather than a continued reliance on someone or something else). Food sovereignty is about justice for people and building a more equitable system where people have the power to control the means of production, policies, and distribution of food.
Shelby will be able to supply limited quantities of seedlings this spring. She asks anyone interested in ordering seedlings to contact her through the “Contact Me” section of her website to discuss this further. She will have multiple varieties of common garden plants available including tomatoes, peppers, basil and beans. She is open to customizing orders and growing what people want. One of her first customers is the Lanark County Food Bank.
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
When theHumm first featured oil painter Kaija Savinainen Mountain (her married name) in 2007, she responded to my inevitable question as to why she created her art with this statement: “I have a terrible need to create. It chases me.” She has continued her race to the top of her creative powers, but she has raised the bar on her ambitions. Today her answer is: “Nature needs our respect and care more than ever these days, and I challenge us all to be mindful of......
In the December issue of theHumm we issued an “invitation to write” by the name of Winterwords — asking readers to contribute up to 1000 words on the theme of “Back to Better in the Valley” and to contact us if they were interested in facilitating a writing workshop of some kind. The response has been warm and wonderful, and we are delighted to launch the 2021 Winterwords schedule of online events. All are free (or by donation to facilitators), and there is room for additional workshops should mo......
Artistic Excellence in our Area - theHumm February 2021
By Miss Cellaneous
Mary Pfaff: Companions
From February 17 to March 26, Sivarulrasa Gallery in Almonte is pleased to present Mary Pfaff: Companions, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Almonte-based artist Mary Pfaff. The Gallery is thrilled that this exhibition will include, in addition to new smaller works, four new 60-inch canvasses entitled Beyond, Home, Uncertainty, and Conversing with the Trees.
Mary Pfaff earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (with distinction) fro......
Build a Birdhouse! - theHumm February 2021
By Glenda Jones
The birdhouse auction in support of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists is only three months away, and crafters are scouring their treasures for the makings of a unique creation to tempt bidders. While a classic wooden house will suffice, a dwelling that once was a watering can or a toy could up the interest. Turn children loose with a box of odds and ends, and their imaginations are limitless. An old key will become a perch; an assortment of bottle caps will become shingles; a milk carton will......
By Kris Riendeau
Just before Christmas, I picked up a copy of Vickie Walsh’s Guide to Hiking Trails in Ottawa and Region. As I perused the pages and learned about many trails with which I had not yet become acquainted, it occurred to me that Vickie’s insights would be a wonderful addition to theHumm. Imagine my delight when she responded to my enquiry to say that she had just moved to Almonte and was interested in collaborating! Her background is varied and fascinating, and her dedication to promoti......
By Emily Pearlman
“I am inspired by empowered young people coming to realize our place in the world as the last generation to challenge Climate Change and environmental injustices,” says Ahlena Sultana-McGarry, one of the facilitators of Climate Network Lanark’s Youth for Climate Action group. She speaks with a quiet confidence which seems the right note to strike with the twelve young people from across Lanark who recently assembled as strangers for the group’s first meeting.
Sultana-McGarry, a graduate in Cro......
By Susie Osler
I ride a friend’s beautiful big black horse Izzy out into the fields on a farm east of Perth. It is a gloriously eerie afternoon in late November. A wet snow has fallen on not-yet-frozen ground and now a thick, vaporous veil of fog has gathered over the land.
Izzy is a game companion and I anticipate the adventure we have ahead of us. When the curtain of fog closes around us, separating us from buildings and barns, suddenly I am transported into the pages of childhood books — a girl on a pony, ve......
Finding Joy in Lockdown - theHumm February 2021
By Sarah Kerr
I had a bit of the “blue Monday” feels as I sat down to write this month’s Little Humm column. But the whole point of this column is to add some joy and encouragement to all my parenting peeps in the Valley. So in an effort to find inspiration for February, which is currently forecasting a continued lockdown and possibly a polar vortex, I decided to survey the kids of the Ottawa Valley to see how they think we should handle this situation. And it turns out, they’re not as upset about lockdown in wint......
Back to Better in the Valley - theHumm February 2021
By Jeanne d’Arc Labelle
Jeanne d’Arc Labelle sent in this thoughtful note and hopeful poem in response to our Winterwords invitation to write. She says: “I see the turbulence of the pandemic posturing on the unknown, all the while… its isolation being spun into hope, and gratefulness; and in small and big ways, all around me. I wondered, could such a context be captured in ‘Tritina Poetry’? Tritina poetry is choosing three words (1,2,3), to be used in rotation, at the end of three sentences, using ......
Dear Little One - theHumm February 2021
By Jaaron Hamilton
Jaaron Hamilton sent in this letter to her young son (as well as the photo) as her contribution to theHumm’s Winterwords invitation to write:
By the time that you’ll be reading this, all of this will be a distant memory. Maybe you’ll be reading about it in your history textbook, or watching a documentary about it on Netflix. In any case, there is one thing that is absolutely certain: this was not the year that we imagined. I don’t know what we expected, but this definitely wasn’t it.......
By Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe sent in this gently insightful contribution to theHumm’s Winterwords invitation to write. Artist Catherine Orfald allowed us to use her painting Ontario Farm Remains to accompany it.
This past summer, while tying up our tomatoes in the garden for what felt like the 100th time, my wife noticed our son Theo, in flight, speeding past the garden with a rusted-old-broken-thingamajig in hand toward the woodshed. She, boldly, remarked as to whether he had gotten around to co......
We and Covid - theHumm February 2021
By Frank Hirst
Frank Hirst is the author of A View from the Forest — a non-fiction collection of stories about his life. Born in England in 1939, Frank came to the Ottawa Valley in 1948. He taught for two years each in Ottawa, Northern Ontario and Dawson City, spent four years at Queen’s and retired from high school teaching in 1990, returning to his farm. Frank lived off the land for the most part in the Ottawa Valley, in a log cabin he built in the bush with his wife and kids. Frank’s adventures, captur......
By Jill McCubbin
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. Or as my son said: “We are blessed to live in these times and we are cursed to live in these times.”
And so, in these times, libraries have ......
What is a Certified Feline Master Groomer and how can one help you and your cat? For Cassandra Prince, co-owner of The Cat’s Meow, the answer is multifold. Regular cat grooming can help owners wh......
Feb 17 - Mar 26 Exhibition: Mary Pfaff's paintings
Mar 10 - Apr 16 Exhibition: Jim Hake's Sculptures
- Kaija Savinainen —A Brush with a Gifted Environmental Activist
- Interested in Writing? Check Out Winterwords Online Events!
- Artistic Excellence in our Area
- Build a Birdhouse!
- Happy Hiking: an Interview with Vickie Walsh
- The Last Generation: to Act on Climate Change
- Hedgerow (where the domestic and the wild mix and mingle)
- Finding Joy in Lockdown
- Back to Better in the Valley
- Dear Little One