Indian Creek Orchard Gardens - theHumm February 2020
Indian Creek Orchard Gardens - theHumm February 2020
By David Hinks
“Five acres is not nearly enough”, opined Scott Sigurdson in a recent interview.
Scott is one-half of the dynamic duo that own Indian Creek Orchard Gardens near Pakenham. Scott and his life-and-business partner Marisa Buccione are bursting with growing ideas and new projects that have filled their homestead on the Indian Creek to overflowing.
Scott and Marisa abandoned their city jobs in April of 2015 when they found land suitable for an orchard and market garden — rich silt loam bottom-land on the shores of the Indian Creek in Mississippi Mills. Their business model is just about as different from the 100-acre fields of modern industrial agriculture as one could imagine.
Their business might best be classified as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Consumers reserve their garden share and pay for it in advance. Scott and Marissa are responsible for the soil preparation, planting, weeding, watering and harvesting. All the share purchasers have to do is pick up their garden share once a week through the growing season. Consumers receive the freshest healthiest produce available as the weekly share is most often picked fresh to order either the day before or the day of the pick-up.
Consumers are partnering with and supporting the farm, which in turn strengthens the food resilience of the community — it is an alternative model of agriculture that allows for the producer and the consumer to share the risks of farming. This kind of farming operates with a much greater degree of involvement of consumers and other stakeholders than usual, resulting in a stronger consumer-producer relationship. Originally the core design included developing a cohesive consumer group that was willing to fund a whole season’s budget in order to get quality food. The system has many variations on how the farm budget is supported by the consumers and how the producers then deliver the food. CSA theory purports that the more a farm embraces whole-farm, whole-budget support, the more it can focus on quality and reduce the risk of food waste.
Indian Creek has to date focused on providing vegetables only. The orchard part of the operation is not included in the garden shares. The orchard only began producing commercial quantities of fruit last year and for the time being will be available at the farm stand days. Go to indiancreekorchard.ca for comprehensive information on how to buy a share and to answer just about any question you could think of. The well designed, up-to-date website attests to Scott’s background as a graphic designer.
In many ways Indian Creek is as much about building community as it is about growing food. As with many CSAs, a dozen or more subscribers exchange their labour in the garden for part of the cost of their share. A strong bond has developed with many of their customers.
Indian Creek is committed to organic practices and local sustainability and goes way beyond the prescribed standards. Although many organically derived broad spectrum pesticides are condoned by the Canadian Organic Standard, the objective at Indian Creek is to avoid their use altogether.
The organic practices start with the garden design and layout. The front line of pest deterrents includes cultural practices such as beneficial habitat, crop rotation, diverse inter-plantings, and various partitions (row covers, screened hoop houses and other insect barriers) to minimize pest problems. Vegetables are sown between rows of fruit trees, bush fruits and aisles of grape vines. Riparian areas along the creek and around their irrigation pond have been left in a relatively wild state and are home to a diversity of amphibians. Cultured lady bugs and praying mantis, parasitic wasps and a naturally occurring soil bacterium are all used when required as these have no adverse effect on their eco-system. The goal is to create a balance where the “good guys” keep the “bad guys” in check.Indian Creek makes every effort to build soil organic matter and to maintain the integrity of the soil structure by making extensive use of green manures and green mulches, by practicing minimal till or shallow till farming and keeping the soil covered.
Fertility sources include poultry manure from their flock of heritage chickens and truckloads of composted horse manure from local farms to help replenish the nutrients that leave the farm as produce each year.
Having grown up on a farm many decades ago, I find their approach to weed control much more akin to what I experienced in that era. The mechanical weeding methods include a small restored vintage 1948 Allis Chalmers model G tractor, a variety of wheel hoes and — when all else fails — hand-weeding on hands and knees.
Compost tea, disease-resistant cultivars and partitioning or putting distance between patches of plants are all strategies to deal with the threat of disease.
Indian Creek regularly plants more than their calculations would indicate that they need, as for a variety of reasons some crops do not produce as planned. The Lanark County Food Bank has been a major beneficiary as surplus produce has been donated — last year nearly a thousand pounds.
Scott is also keen on taking his ideas to a broader audience. He makes presentations on organic growing techniques to local horticultural societies, is active in his local business association, and most recently joined the Mississippi Mills Agricultural Advisory Committee where he shares the perspective of organic farmers who had previously been unrepresented on the committee.
In 2019 Indian Creek partnered with the Municipality of Mississippi Mills in a Pollinator Plant Pilot Project. Under Scott’s leadership, a couple of dozen neighbours and friends spread composted manure in the ditches along a two kilometre stretch of Sugar Bush Road in a carefully controlled scientific experiment to find methods of controlling wild parsnip and other invasive plants by restoring roadside pollinator habitat and eliminating the need to spray pesticides. Some of the people involved reported that it was a fun community-building project, and I believe that is where the key to the success of Indian Creek can be found — they are all about creating community!
In memoriam – Dr. Bill Buttle - theHumm February 2020
By Kris Riendeau
I honestly can’t remember when Bill Buttle first started contributing Artbeat cartoons to theHumm, but I think it was some time within our first year of publishing. So for the past two decades (give or take a year or two), his humorous take on the world of art and music has had pride of place here on page 2. On Sunday, January 19, Bill passed away peacefully in Arnprior at the age of 79, leaving behind grieving family and friends as well as legions of Artbeat fans throughout......
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
It is a true gift to discover a passion that endures and rewards for the rest of your life. Charles Spratt is grateful that he has had forty years to enjoy what it took him forty years to realize — he is an artist.
Interviewing artists is always an adventure. When he ushered me into the basement of the tastefully appointed home he shares with his wife Pat in Stittsville, I was astonished. Spratt’s man cave is unusual and fabulous. I would like to return a......
By Linda Beiglee & Sherrie Seward, CoProducers
This enchanting modern classic from Disney is based on the 2018 Broadway musical, bringing Elsa, Anna and the magical land of Arendelle to life onstage.
A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen Jr. examines the emotional relationship between Princesses Anna and Elsa as they embark on a journey. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters, and laden with magic, adventure and plenty of h......
If you like your blues hard and heavy then you won’t want to miss the Bill Durst band at the Cove on February 21. Blues on the Rideau producer James Doran explains: “This will be Bill’s first visit to Westport, and I don’t know why it’s taken this long for us to get him here. I promise that anyone who loves Texas roadhouse-style blues (like ZZ Top) will really enjoy this band. This power trio blues rock is as good as it gets!”
Growing up in Wingham, Ontario, Bill was influenced by Mo......
Almonte’s Seedy Saturday - theHumm February 2020
By David Hinks
The fifth annual Almonte Seedy Saturday will soon be here. That’s right — fifth year — what an amazing anniversary!
Seedy Saturday comes to the Almonte Civitan Club on Saturday, February 8 from 9am to 3pm. Once again there will be guest speakers all day on a wide variety of topics, more than forty artisan vendors and not-for-profits, door prizes, plenty of seed swapping, and homemade brunch from the Civitan canteen. Johvi Leeck, a young local entrepreneur and owner of t......
By Smiths Falls Community Theatre
February is the dreariest of months — if you aren’t a winter person. There’s snow, cold, wind… it seems to have been here forever and seems like it’s never going to end. You need a pick-me-up! A night to forget about it all and just submerse yourself in a whole lot of nonsense. That’s where the Station Theatre comes in. Our production of the traditional British farce Key for Two by John Chapman and Dave Freeman is sure to lighten your mood!
First-time director Linda Pipher has put together a g......
Shift Happens: A Documentary Series The Impact of Humans on Our Planetand What Can Be Done About It - theHumm February 2020
Studio Theatre Perth, Biosphere Environmental Education, and Three Green Peas are pleased to announce a series of documentary films at the Studio Theatre in Perth.
Five award-winning environmental documentaries shown over five months will cover climate change and environmental challenges caused by human activity. One documentary from the series was presented in November 2019, and four more will be shown in February, March, April, and May of 2020. These films explore the dangers facing our......
By Miss Mills
OK — we’re tired of being indoors already, so it must be time to head outside for some awesome activities and marvellous milling about. No problem — Mississippi Mills has you covered (or uncovered, as the case may be)!
Monday, February 17 is Family Day in Ontario, and there are many affordable (and free!) activities to enjoy close to home. In Almonte, Pakenham and area, you can enjoy free public skating, explore local history, have fun outdoors, eat pancakes or catch a screeni......
By Heddy Sorour
Studio Theatre Perth’s upcoming production promises a heart-warming evening of discovery. Marion Bridge by Daniel MacIvor is a humorous and touching story about the power of realization and how it heals more than it harms.
“It’s a drama, with lots of comic moments. They’re amusing characters and the language is amusing and clever and it just flows,” enthuses director Barb Guthrie.
The play is about three sisters in their thirties who congregate at their childhood “home” ......
Artist Eric Walker has been creating his “painted constructions” — blurring the boundaries of painting, collage, and sculpture — for over three decades. Much of his work is linked to the history and culture of the Maritimes, combining elements of high art with more vernacular forms. Walker aims to call attention to collective history by focusing on a mix of commonplace subjects such as ships, trains, government buildings and cities seen from the ground ......
By Heidi Taber Work
The Perth & District Union Public Library is preparing to use their space like never before. On Saturday, February 22 at 8pm, the library will be transformed into a live music venue for ......
- On This Month’s Cover
- The Return of the Victory Garden: an Interview with Ed Lawrence
- The Great Veggie Grow-Off is a GO!
- Calling All Novice Vegetable Gardeners
- Give Moms a (Coffee) Break!
- Playful May
- Reflecting on Earth Day 2020
- Hygge Your Home! Turning Your Space into a Calming, Comfortable Sanctuary
- The Best Gift