Photo by Hazel Owen (via Flickr)
Spring in Ottawa brings a feast of workshops, seminars and other food and farm-related events, all geared to getting people to start growing their own food or thinking about it. The events run the gamut from vegetable gardening and tree propagation to seed-saving and food security.
Here’s a sample of what’s happening over the next few weeks.
- Beginner organic vegetable gardening workshops
This Just Food workshop is designed for the total novice and presented by David Hinks, from Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton. Choose from 3 different dates and locations.
When & Wednesday April 23, 6-8 p.m.
where: Dempsey Community Centre, 1895 Russell Rd.
Monday May 5, 6-8 p.m.
Lowertown Community Resource Centre, 40 Cobourg St.
Wednesday May 21, 6-8 p.m.
Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre, 2339 Ogilvie
Cost: $5.00 or pay what you can
Register: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613-699-6850 (x12) to reserve a spot on your preferred date
- Organic Gardening in the City seminars
Put on by Canadian Organic Growers, upcoming seminars include:
Designing an Urban Organic Garden to Support Pollinators, Pest Eaters, and Pest Deterrents, April 22
Prolonging and Winterizing an Organic Garden/Herbs & Edible Flowers, April 29
When: 7-9 p.m. (both seminars)
Where: Ottawa City Hall, Colonel By Room, 110 Laurier St. W
Cost: $20 per adult; $14 per seminar for seniors and students with valid photo ID. Register for 6 or more and get 1 free
- Permaculture workshops & courses
Permaculture refers to ecological design principles that can be applied to agricultural, architectural and other systems. In terms of food production, permaculture is often associated with food forests that mimic natural ecosystems and integrate multiple layers such as trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, cover crops, green manure, root crops and vines. The Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario delivers a variety of workshops on permaculture design, including:
Design: Your Life and The Outer Landscape (April 26) and Ecological Design & Gardening: Introduction to Permaculture (May 31, June 1).
Visit http://eonpermaculture.ca for more information on prices and registration.
- Urban fruit and nut tree propagation workshop
Learn about the abundance of food that hardy fruit and nut trees provide and how you can grow them here.
When: May 3, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Where: Ecclesiax Church, 2 Monk Street
Cost: $65 – $125
- Wild edible and medicinal plant course
Amber Westfall of The Wild Garden has been leading plant walks and workshops for several years. In 2014, she’s introducing a 10-class program, spread out over four months. Classes can be taken individually but are structured to build on one another.
Each session contains a short theory portion, learning activities, and hands-on experience with a select group of plants. By the end of the course, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to recognize more than 45,000 species of plants by family, correctly ID dozens of local, edible and medicinal plants, and more.
When: 10 Wednesdays and Saturdays, May 7-Sept 6
Where: Various Ottawa South locations, and Amber’s CSA at the Just Food Farm, 2389 Pepin Court, Ottawa
Cost: $165 for 10 classes, $85 for 5 classes
- Back to Our Roots: Parkdale Food Centre Gala
Support the work of the Parkdale Food Centre while enjoying delicious food and drinks courtesy of the Urban Element, The Merry Dairy, Stone Soup Foodworks, Supply & Demand, Beyond the Pale and Stratus Vineyards. Each ticket includes three complementary drinks, with a cash bar also available for the duration of the event as well. The event will also feature a silent auction and live music.
Tickets are limited, so don’t delay if you’d like to attend!
When: May 1, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Where: Urban Element, 424 Parkdale Ave
Cost: $150 (with a $65 tax receipt)
Seeds and seeding saving
- Seed justice: A talk with Tesling Andrews of Aster Lane Edibles
Presented by Transition Ottawa, this talk by Telsing Andrews of Aster Lane Edibles will cover the different reproductive strategies of plants, germination requirements of seeds, plant selection, and ways to share your seeds including swaps, seed libraries and public domain plant breeding.
When: April 30, 7-9 p.m.
Where: Jack Purcell Community Centre, Room 201, 320 Jack Purcell Ln.
Cost: Free; donations are encouraged and go towards room rental fees, guest speakers, and other Transition Ottawa initiatives.
- Seed-saving workshop for farmers and serious gardeners
Learn about the benefits of seed saving, selecting seed crops and varieties, how to plant and produce crops for seed, when and how to harvest, seed cleaning and storage, and record-keeping. The workshop will focus on producing peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and brassica greens for seed and is part of Just Food’s new regional seed bank program being developed in partnership with Seeds of Diversity. The workshop will be facilitated by Greta Kryger of Greta’s Organic Gardens which specializes in certified organic, open-pollinated, heritage varieties of vegetable seed.
When: April 28, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Just Food Farm, 2389 Pepin Court, Ottawa
Cost: $30 (payable at the door)
To register: Contact mailto:email@example.com or 613-699-6850 (x15)
Starting a farm business
- Is starting an agricultural business right for you?
The course is designed to help aspiring farmers learn what is involved in starting and managing their own farm business and also looks at other possibilities to participate in agriculture. Course content reflects agricultural trends and opportunities in the Ottawa region.
When: Course is held over 4 Wednesday evenings: May 14 and 28, and June 11 and 25. All sessions run from 6 to 9 p.m. and cover different content.
Where: Just Food Farm, 2389 Pepin Court, Ottawa
Cost: $225 (includes manual and visit to an area farm. Reduced cost for a second person from the same potential farm). Pay when you register.
To register: Contact Leela at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-699-6850 x15
What food will you grow in your backyard or on your deck this year?