Cucumber Seedlings

Cucumber Seedlings

Monday, February 4, 2013

It's never too early to be thinking about your garden

It may be -15°C in Montreal right now but there are at least a few reasons to be thankful for a cold winter:  Cold weather kills bugs, bacteria, and other organisms that can be harmful to your harvest; a big pile up of snow means lots of water in the soil in spring that will help with seed germination and general soil fertility (not to mention some great opportunities to go sledding!); and the winter gives us a chance to rest from what can sometimes be back-breaking garden labor and give us a chance to plan our gardens for the upcoming season.

afiche pour le site webIf you're like me and like to have as much control over what goes into your garden as possible, then mid-winter is one of the most exciting times of year.  That's right, it's time to drool over seed catalogs at all the varieties of heirloom and organic seeds that could produce delicious, beautiful produce just for you.  Or better yet, find out when and where the nearest seed sale and exchanges are happening and support your local organic farmers who are among the unsung heroes working to preserve our biodiversity and our traditions.

If you're living anywhere near the Montreal region you must come by the Jardin Botanique de Montreal this weekend, February 9th-10th from 10am-4:30pm, for the 13th annual SEEDY WEEKEND.  Organized by local urban ag. organization Action Communiterre, there will be 20 local seed-saving farmers selling organic and heirloom veggie, herb, and flower seeds, with a free community seed exchange at the end of the day.  Plus there's a bunch of awesome FREE conferences about organic gardening and agriculture, food security, and what you can do to support new initiatives in Montreal and your community!  It's so worth the trek and the selection and diversity of seeds is really amazing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Planting a Future - a documentary about urban agriculture in NDG, Montreal

Two Concordia film students approached Action Communiterre this spring, interested in urban agriculture in the borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grace (NDG), Montreal.  For their course, they visited different organizations and gardens around the neighborhood to get a sense of the work being done and its impact in the community.  There's even a short segment featuring the St. Monica School Garden!

Marche Locale - Concordia University's new local food market!

Congrats to my friend and colleague Amy Barrington on her successful organization of the Marche Locale at Concordia University.  The market provides a space in the heart of downtown where local producers (and extremely local producers from around the city!) can sell their organic produce to students and passersby.  The market can be found every Tuesday from 4:00-7:00pm at the Hall Building Terrasse on MacKay, near de Maisonneuve in Montreal.

Amy is a student at Concordia University and a Member of the Board at Action Communiterre.

Watch a CTV news clip on the market!!
For details and updates on the garden visit their website:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Public Consultation: Urban Agriculture in Montreal - events schedule announced!

Great news!

The event schedule for Montreal's public consultation on urban agriculture has been released, along with a great new website!  This follows a campaign of local NGOs and citizens to gather signatures in support of the consultation.  Thanks to the City of Montreal's "Right to Initiative" the city is mandated  to hold a public consultation on any issue when a certain minimum of citizens (15,000 I believe) support the initiative.

On November 15, 2011 citizens delivered a petition with nearly 29 000 signatures to the city and the public consultation was confirmed in December.  After months of planning, the dates for the public consultation have been announced and will be held in May and June.

Citizens are also encouraged to submit their own urban agriculture activities to the website with a photo and description at:  

I have translated the event listing below from French into English, as the English listing does not seem to be available elsewhere:

Exposition: Saturday May 12, 2012 - 11:00am - 4:00pm

CCSE Maisonneuve Chapter- 4375 Ontario st. East

This is the first information event where the public will have the opportunity to get to know the local actors involved in urban agriculture movement in Montreal.

Colloquium: Thursday May 17, 2012 - 9:00am - 5:00pm

Palais des congrès de Montreal Room 519
1001, place Jean-Paul-Riopelle(downtown near Place d'Armes Metro)

This is the first information event where the public will have the opportunity to get to know the local actors involved in urban agriculture movement in Montreal. Registration is required, space is limited:

 Public consultation sessions: in various neighbourhoods

  1. Ahuntsic-Cartierville: 7pm - 10pm - Saint-André Apôtre Church - 10505 rue de l'Esplanade
  2. Montreal-Central (i.e. Downtown, Plateau, Mile End, Villeray): 7pm - 10pm - Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal - 460, rue Gilford 
  3. Montreal North: 7pm - 10pm - Centre récréatif Rivière-des-Prairies - 7650, boulevard Maurice-Duplessis
  4. Cote-de-Neige/Notre-Dame-de-Grace:7pm - 10pm - Centre Communautaire St-Raymond - 5600, rue Upper Lachine 
Deadline for offering memories/testimonies on urban agriculture through the website:  June 14 at 4pm.

Final hearings for individuals and organization that wish to express themseleves on this issue: June 18, 7pm - 10pm: OCPM - 1550 rue Metcalfe, 14th Floor

For more information (in French) see:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Congratulations to Lauren!

Congratulations to Lauren who was recently selected as one of two inaugural PFF Community Leadership Fellows by McGill University.

The PFF Community Leadership Fellowships offer extraordinary opportunities to McGill students with innovative ideas, helping them to bring sustainable and positive social change to the communities in which they work.

After a very competitive selection process, Lauren received the good news that she was selected to have her project funded.  Beginning this week, Lauren is working with Action Communiterre and the English-Montreal School Board for 8-months to build a brand new school and community vegetable garden at St. Monica Elementary School in the Notre-Dame de Grace (NDG) bourough of Montreal.   She will actively engage the young daycare children and local youth in planting and maintaining the garden to grow all kinds of nutritious food for the community.  She will be complementing the work in the garden with workshops for the kids on health, nutrition and the environment, as well as hosting community events centred around extremely local food!

For more information on the PFF Fellowship see: 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring has come early!

Early spring is still a blend of browns and grays
It's the warmest March Montreal has seen in 70 years, according to the CBC, with a projected high of 20 degrees (68F) and clear blue skies.  And what greater way to celebrate the warmth than by stepping out into the garden (in a tank top!!!) and surveying the land. 

The tulips and crocus have pushed their leaves above the soil.  I look forward to their blue and orange blooms in the coming months.  But the arrival of the spring bulbs makes me curious about the garlic below the soil as well.  I marked the garlic with thin green poles so I could anticipate its sprouting.  The leaves I used to mulch and insulate the soil are still quite thick on the surface.  But sure enough, as I peel them away I see the green garlic tips poking out from the warm soil.  I'd like to also report that the chives are also making a nice showing and are already a few inches high. Ah, spring is in the air!
Garlic and tulips and chives, oh my!