The Blakeney Project: A First Year Report - theHumm November 2021
The Blakeney Project: A First Year Report - theHumm November 2021
By David Hinks
Many in our community became aware of The Blakeney Project of the Lanark County Food Bank (branded as The Hunger Stop) by walking, cycling or driving past our two-acre field that fronts on Blakeney Road on the east side of Blakeney. The field is now mainly brown as fall clean-up is largely complete; however, through the growing season there were large areas of verdant squash, 34 rows of potatoes lined up in military precision, a central circle with corn and flowers reaching to the sky, large areas of sweet corn and a lush irrigated section with tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, chard, carrots, kale, onions, leeks and herbs.
We were very fortunate to have created a visually appealing garden thanks to our design team, endless hours of planting and weeding by volunteers, and of course by the natural beauty of the site that borders on a ravine.
Okay, so it was pretty to look at, but did it produce nutritious local organic food in abundance for our communities? You may have heard the warning to keep your car locked to foil desperate gardeners who would fill it with an over-abundance of zucchini and tomatoes. Well, there is truth in that — our garden produced far beyond our wildest expectations. Food Bank volunteers who were processing and freezing veggies reached their limit by mid-September!
In its first year, we envisioned the Blakeney Project as an experiment — plant a bunch of stuff, see if we could attract several crews of volunteers, see if we could control weeds and see what we could harvest. Next year our Board of Directors and Manager are insisting on a bit more planning and that we learn to say “no” to donors who offer thousands of their surplus seedlings. Apparently we didn’t really need 150 eggplant seedlings or 120 basil plants!
There were a few hiccups along the way — we had to wait for the field to dry, we had delays in setting up the irrigation system and we had a paucity of rain in May and June — but boy-oh-boy the harvest exceeded expectations. By the middle of October we had passed the 18,000-pound mark. The results were not even — all the cucumber plants died and the eggplant did not set fruit, but there was an overwhelming harvest of beans, zucchini and tomatoes. The potatoes performed about as expected (4,000 pounds) and the squash (mostly butternut) harvest left us gasping for breath.
Large areas were planted with squash to cover bare ground, to choke out weeds, and because it is a relatively low-maintenance crop. The results were astounding — 7,500 pounds of squash — while the Food Bank only could handle 2,500 pounds. We were not able to find any local agencies that could use this bounty, so we turned to our neighbours in Ottawa. The Ottawa Community Food Partnership and the Kosher Food Bank were very happy to pick up our 5,000 pounds of surplus squash!
A bit of history on the project. Very generous landowners and grant money from federally funded programs allowed us to transform a two-acre field into a gardening paradise. The land is a small irregularly shaped parcel that is not suitable for modern industrial agriculture. For the last twenty or more years it had been used mainly for sheep pasturing. An important aspect for us, and one that matters to many of our clients, is that the field has been farmed organically. We were able to purchase a large rototiller, a lawn tractor, a yard cart, hand tools, large water tanks, work benches, a work shed and an irrigation system. We were also able to get a large quantity of organic straw, seeds and seedlings.
The Blakeney Project has two key components — the two-acre field and a 3000-square-foot pole barn — however, they are separated by about 700 feet! Our initial feeling was that the distance made it impossible to be a cohesive whole, and we debated whether we would include the barn. Finally we decided to include it, and are we ever glad we did. It was key to our irrigation system and it serves so many other uses including lockable storage for tools and equipment, storage for straw, room to lay out vegetables to dry and cure, and work area for volunteers. Over the summer we have been busily constructing a work shed at the opposite end of the field.
Back to the irrigation system. The most challenging aspect of the project has been water. We have no water at the field so decided to buy three 1250 Imperial gallon tanks, install eavestroughs on both sides of the barn, and install downspouts into the tanks which are interconnected with hose and then connected to a pump that drives water 700 feet through a hose to our drip irrigation system in the field. Our system, which was designed by irrigation specialists near Montreal, has performed admirably. One inch of rain will provide 7,000 litres of water.
We have had around fifty volunteers involved in different aspects of the project. There are about thirty frontline volunteers who got down and dirty with a three-hour shift once a week. While some were experienced, most were not. I like to think that we are helping to create our next generation of Horticultural Club members and future Master Gardeners. If you are interested in being part of our project in the future, please phone the Lanark County Food Bank (the Hunger Stop) at 257–8546.
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
Meed Barnett’s diminutive stature is very deceptive. This recent addition to Almonte’s art scene lives up to her favourite descriptor of herself and her art — feral. She is fierce and refuses to be domesticated in any of the conventional senses of the word. As an artist she refuses to be confined to any one style, medium or philosophy. Our interview begins with her declaration that she would just as soon be referred to as “they”, but will let me use “she” ......
Itty Bitty Arts and Crafts Sale - theHumm November 2021
Just as the stunning golds and reds return to the trees alongside the Mississippi River each autumn, this time each year also brings back Arts Carleton Place’s successful annual art exhibition to the Canoe Club. On November 6 and 7, the Itty Bitty Arts and Crafts Sale will open from 10:30am to 4:30pm for visitors and lovers of original creations to once again be immersed into the creativity, culture and craft that shines in our community.
The Itty Bitty Arts and Crafts Sa......
Funny, intelligent and surprisingly timely, Educating Rita by Willy Russell is Studio Theatre Perth’s perfect return to live theatre. Starving theatre-lovers are invited to take their seats for this two-handed dramedy exploring freedom and connection, which opens on November 18.
“It’s one of my favourite plays. I was the one who brought the play forward for production,” explains Jane Stott, Studio Theatre Perth’s artistic director and the play’s director. “I love a two-han......
By Kris and Rob Riendeau
Here at theHumm we’re big on local economies. The retail and service businesses in the small towns that we cover play a huge role in the cultural life of those towns. Each store, restaurant, or small enterprise attracts and serves a particular clientele — some inside the community, some from outside. Some businesses host their own special events; others join together with local festivals to make the whole experience more vibrant. Many provide support in cash or in kind to local initiatives. All of them add their own particular flavour to the delicious mix that is small-town Ottawa Valley.......
Norm Foster Fun in November Community Theatre is LIVE Again in Smiths Falls! - theHumm November 2021
By Smiths Falls Community Theatre
Like many other theatre groups in and around the area, The Station Theatre in Smiths Falls will be opening once again for theatre lovers who have been waiting a long time to be entertained, as well as the actors and directors who are ready to entertain the masses — safely and carefully!
We had great success putting together our virtual Norm Foster play Here on the Flightpath earlier this year — we definitely wanted the audience to know that we were thinking of them. But after a summer tria......
Over at the Northwind Wireless Fibe Centre in Constance Bay, Rural Root Theatre Company is having a blast rehearsing for The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby by Norm Foster, directed by Helen and Martin Weeden. Performances will take place on November 7 at 2pm, and from November 9 to 13 at 7:30pm.
The cast includes Ian Glen playing Kirk, Arya Landers as Melanie, Judy Bastable as Ronda, Melanie Matheson as Sienna, and Tyler Watt, a newcomer to Rural R......
Sketchy Santa — Holiday Shorts Humm Team Productions Presents Hilarious Sketches for Adults - theHumm November 2021
Two years ago, Rob and Kris Riendeau (aka Humm Team Productions) presented their show Who Stole Christmas from Mississippi Mills at the Almonte Old Town Hall. That musical parody sold out all five performances and was a ton of fun for all involved. This December they are back with their new undertaking, Sketchy Santa. Rob Riendeau of theHumm caught up with head writer of Humm Team Productions, Rob Riendeau, to get the inside scoop on the new show.
theHumm: So, what’s the insi......
From November 10 to December 30, Sivarulrasa Gallery is pleased to present their 7th Anniversary Show, as they celebrate seven years of operations in beautiful Almonte, Ontario. Gallery owner Sanjeev Sivarulrasa says, “We are thrilled to curate and install our biggest show of the year, featuring sculpture, paintings, drawings and mixed media works from artists based in Almonte as well as across the country.” The exhibition can be seen in-person during regular Gallery ......
Holiday Stocking Drive - theHumm November 2021
The Lanark County Food Bank 2021 Christmas Stocking Drive is gearing up, and organizer extraordinaire Sandy Schappert is asking the community to help make this 13th annual event merrier than ever.
Sandy is the spirit behind these Christmas Stockings filled with toiletries. Acting upon a remark her late husband Hank Schappert once made while volunteering at the Food Bank, she has sought to fill the need for toiletries for adults for more than a decade, and each year the community responds. For many a......
The Town of Carleton Place is pleased to share details of the first annual Carleton Place Winter Wonderland Festival, taking place from December 10–12.
The Winter Wonderland Festival will be located at Carleton Junction, 42 Moore Street. The weekend will consist of a variety of outdoor winter activities, live entertainment, music, food vendors and more. Fabulous Canadian children’s entertainers Splash’N Boots are the festival headliners, with shows on Saturday, December 11 at 2p......
MERA’s annual Christmas Fair returns this year to the Schoolhouse at 974 Dalhousie Concession 9A in McDonalds Corners on Saturday, November 20 from 9am to 3pm. MERA (McDonalds Corners & Elphin Recreation & Arts) is a space in Lanark Highlands committed to connecting community members through the arts. All Covid protocols will be in place. Patrons can socialize and warm up by the outdoor bonfire with a cup of hot cider.
Nestled in the heart of McDonalds Corners, the MERA Schoolhouse is......
By Heather Phaneuf
It’s safe to say that, for those of us who live in Mississippi Mills, this storied place has many charms. If not from here, you might have noticed it yourself. One is Mill Street in Almonte, which a few years ago caught the eyes of Canadian radio icon Stuart McLean (1948-2017) of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Stuart, best known for the humour and affection played out in The Vinyl Café, worked the magic of stories into our lives, and fell in love with meandering Mill Street.
Think Local Lanark - theHumm November 2021
For many the month of November means the launch of one of the most exciting (and expensive) times of the year: holiday shopping season. This is the time when people begin thinking about Christmas gifts and what to buy for friends and loved ones.
This year marks the second Christmas since the Covid-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, and in some ways it’s the most important for small businesses. After a year-and-a-half of lockdowns, complete closures, loss of staff, and the vaccine passport, sma......
Perth Tourism invites you to explore all that the town has to offer this holiday season. Enjoy a weekend in Perth and take some time for yourself to unwind and indulge. With numerous events planned throughout November and December, the holiday spirit will be sure to surround you while you stroll the streets and explore the beautiful old-world charm of the town.
Bursting with carefully curated boutiques and shops, you’ll easily be able to find gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list — an......
Art Works! Perth is cordially inviting local fine art makers and artisans of all media — potters, printmakers, photographers, painters, mixed media and all others — to apply for their fourth annual juried art tour. Dates will be June 24–26, 2022, from 11am–5pm daily. Those who wish to exhibit in their own homes, studios and galleries are especially welcome. Space in downtown Perth establishments is available but very limited.
Application forms can be downloaded from the Art Works! Perth website artworksperth.ca . Questions can be......
Artists and volunteers will be collaborating on a one-day “pop up” Holiday Art Sale of reimagined vintage textiles and prints on Sunday, November 21 from 10am to 5pm at the Hub’s Rebound store, located at 79 Bridge Street in Almonte. 100% of the proceeds from this sale will go to support local charities.
The Rebound receives donations of hundreds of frames, many of which would end up in landfill. A creative team of artists and volunteers artfully stacked multiple frames to create unique hous......
Young Artist at MERA - theHumm November 2021
On Sunday, November 7, a vernissage will be held from 2–4pm for MERA’s November exhibiting artist. This show features the work of young local artist Fiona Szabo.
Fiona began to paint at age 5. Now, at 11 years, Fiona has entered and won art competitions in Canada and the US. Her work is primarily acrylic on canvas and meticulously executed drawings. She draws her inspiration from her family, the natural and manmade world around her, and anything that piques her curiosity.
Harvest Market Time - theHumm November 2021
If you’re missing your weekly jaunt to the Almonte Farmers’ Market, you certainly won’t want to miss their indoor Harvest Market on Saturday, November 13. From 9am to 1pm they will be filling the upper hall at the Almonte Arena with fresh veggies, baking, preserves, organic pork, grassfed beef, honey, maple syrup, wine, herbal remedies and body products. In addition, you’ll find all sorts of gift ideas for early holiday shopping!
Masks will be mandatory and people will have to sign in for contact tracing, but proof of vaccination will not required as they are an essential service.
By Chandler Swain
Since September of 2020, Climate Network Lanark (CNL) has written monthly in this column about their ongoing work to find local solutions and promote action on Climate Change. Now this work is being focused toward advising Lanark County Council on making an effective Climate Action Plan. CNL has come up with recommendations that are do-able, are relevant to our way of life, and will improve things for our kids’ futures.
The good news is that it’s well proven that greening the economy can make/keep our lives prosperous, provide lots of interesting, sustainable work, and keep things bea......
There’s an exciting development in the downtown Perth retail sector. The Bookworm, Perth’s beloved used bookstore, is undergoing some significant changes as new proprietors Peter Dixon, Heidi Stepanek and Skye Dixon Stepanek take on the challenge of respecting this thirty-year Perth landmark, while also infusing it with some fresh energy and new ideas.
Since taking ownership, Heidi, Peter and Skye have been busy doing some reorganizing of the store, restocking the previously-read bookshe......
From November 5–15, you can help support the work of the Guatemala Stove Project by participating in an online auction of amazing items. Choose from Guatemalan handicrafts, pottery, gift baskets, paintings and jewellery, restaurant and business vouchers, and much more by visiting 32auctions.com/2021GSP . Proceeds will support the building of chimney-vented cooking stoves for Maya families. These stoves not only reduce the ......
For ten years, the Rideau Environmental Action League (REAL) held a popular local foods dinner in Smiths Falls that included a silent auction component. While the fall feast is not feasible in these Covid times, REAL is hoping to recoup some of the monies usually raised with an online option. Last year’s online auction raised over $2,100 and attracted sponsorships from many of REAL’s loyal supporters, adding $1,000 to the total.
Currently over 80 items are posted, including collectibles, art, yard and garden, housewares, appliances and a few Christmas items. Many are gently used ......
By Linda Camponi
On Saturday, November 6, Union Hall will be hosting a “Community Builders” craft fair. In addition to raising funds for the Hall’s ongoing renovations, we have invited other charities and non-profits to join us at the event to raise awareness and much-needed cash for their enterprises.
The Union Hall Community Centre, a registered charity, was erected in 1857 and continues to be the hub of the community which bears its name. Funded mainly through rentals, donations and fundraising, with financia......
Perth Farmers’ Christmas Market - theHumm November 2021
The Perth Farmers’ Market returns for a Christmas-oriented edition on Sunday, November 21 from 10am to 3pm at the Crystal Palace in downtown Perth. This market brings a diversity of vendors and items including returning market vendors as well as new local artisans and crafters just for this event.
This market is unique in that it combines so many different items in one place. There will be growers with some of their home grown produce, food vendors with edible treats, artisa......
Playing for Keeps in Pakenham - theHumm November 2021
By John Pigeau
When Emily Prospero opened her eco-conscious coffee shop in Pakenham in late September, her focus was razor-sharp: to create a sustainable approach to the coffee shop model, providing unmatched goods and service while maintaining as low a carbon footprint as possible.
Refreshingly, enthusiastically, she is doing just that.
But Keepers Coffee Bar is much more than your average coffee shop. “Our name represents my philosophy in life, and so in business,” Prosp......
The Gifts of Christmas Cheer - theHumm November 2021
By Sarah Kerr
I don’t know what’s wrong with me this year — whether it’s the anxious whispers of inflation or supply shortages or just the general scarcity mentality that has permeated the pandemic — but I’m catching myself worrying about having enough for Christmas. Something in my gut wants to buy stuff, as if having enough toys and gifts will fill me up with joy and love and wonder and peace. But even the Grinch has taught me that “Christmas doesn’t come from a store... Christmas means a little bit more”. ......
By Glenda Jones and Barbara Carroll
Back by popular demand, we are starting to organize the second online birdhouse auction!
Remember the Birdhouse Blowout online auction this past April — the stunning birdhouse creations, the fun of following the auction online through the tail-end of winter, the thrill of owning your own birdhouse? At the time, we believed it was a one-off event to get us all through Covid. Post-auction we were inundated by birdhouse makers, auction participants, and those who just rode al......
By David Hinks
Many in our community became aware of The Blakeney Project of the Lanark County Food Bank (branded as The Hunger Stop) by walking, cycling or driving past our two-acre field that fronts on Blakeney Road on the east side of Blakeney. The field is now mainly brown as fall clean-up is largely complete; however, through the growing season there were large areas of verdant squash, 34 rows of potatoes lined up in military precision, a central circle with corn and flowers reaching to the sky, large a......
Still Curious — and Kind! - theHumm November 2021
By Kris Riendeau
Danielle K Grégoire is a person on a mission. And although their “Curious and Kind” dream may have been altered by the recent pandemic, they remain undaunted and are rising, phoenix-like, from the restrictions with plans for a new physical location and regular showcases at the Almonte Old Town Hall.
Curious and Kind (C&K) made a brief but memorable début in Almonte a few months before Covid kicked the butts of local performers and venues. Part performance space and part social ent......
You are invited to an evening gala… at home! The past two years have presented many challenges, so the Almonte General Hospital Fairview Manor (AGH FVM) Foundation has turned them into exciting opportunities that will continue to support patient and resident care at the hospital and manor.
The Board and staff of the Foundation are excited to present their second Evening at Home Gala — a fundraiser that features sumptuous food prepared by Almonte’s Bouffage Kitchen, on Saturday, November 20 beginni......
Dec 1 - Jan 3 The Art of Gift
Dec 7 Matt Dickson
Dec 9 Brock Zeman
Dec 10 - 11 Young Petty Stones Dinner+Show
Dec 10 - 18 Sketchy Santa: Holiday Shorts
Dec 11 Holiday Open House
Dec 11 Meet the Grinch
Dec 11 - 12 See Santa Outdoors
- Meed Barnett — Feral Art and Fabulous Jewellery
- Itty Bitty Arts and Crafts Sale
- Studio Theatre Returns with Educating Rita
- Showing the Local Love for the Holidays!
- Norm Foster Fun in November Community Theatre is LIVE Again in Smiths Falls!
- Rural Root Goes Fishing with Kooshog Lake
- Sketchy Santa — Holiday Shorts Humm Team Productions Presents Hilarious Sketches for Adults
- 7th Anniversary Showat Sivarulrasa Gallery
- Holiday Stocking Drive
- Carleton Place Winter Wonderland Festival