By Jude Major
After watching what the recent disaster of floods, landslides, and broken roads has done to food supplies in British Columbia, we in Nova Scotia need to do some serious thinking and planning about food security here at home.
In this age of just-in-time deliveries, there is only a three-day supply of food and other essential supplies on hand. One good storm could turn us into an island if the Isthmus of Chignecto dikes failed that protect the rail line and highway that connect us to mainland Canada. What will you do when no trains or trucks can get through?
Our province was pretty much self-sufficient not that long ago. We ate what we grew. And we ate what was in season, when it was in season. There’s a long history of drying, salting, canning, and root cellaring. These were skills that were common knowledge and practice, largely abandoned given our reliance on “convenience.”
To bring back those skills and help more of us start growing more of our own food, in 2022, I will be teaching “How to Grow Dinner,” a comprehensive ten-month course offered by Autumn Hill Farm with support from The Old School Community Gathering Place. I made a living for years as a backyard organic farmer and founded the community garden on Highway 7 in Musquodoboit Harbour.
“How to Grow Dinner will run from mid-January to November. There will be some in-class instruction, but most of the work will be get-your-hands-dirty instruction on site at Autumn Hill Farm, located at the top of Autumn Hill Drive in Musquodoboit Harbour.
The wide-ranging course will cover where and why to get seed, starting plants indoors, detailed information on caring for vegetables, harvesting, preserving, and storing your crops, and then preparing for next year’s crops.
There is room for ten participants, each of whom will have a raised bed at Autumn Hill Farms to grow their veggies. And there will be flowers. Many flowers are edible as well as being beneficial companion plants in the garden.
The aim of this program is to provide participants with reliable information and support, to improve useful knowledge, and to make a growing number of families more food secure. We are working on a fee structure that will make this program affordable and accessible. For more information, call (902) 219-0988.