Apr 19, 2009

Killing worms

Wire worms, that is. Evil little squiggles that will eat all the precious grains we are learning to grow. Today we planted red fife wheat, white hard wheat, oats and emmer. All part of a brave, visionary experiment called Island Grains, to return us to a healthier era when we did indeed grow our own grains (yes, granola and bread can fit within a hundred-mile diet, or hopefully a hundred-yard diet!)

Our neighbours two farms up the road, Brock and Heather of Makaria Farms, got tired of urban government life 2 years ago and became organic farmers. Not content with just growing the most delicious strawberries and other produce on the planet, they've decided to learn how to grow grain, and to bring others along for the journey. Over 50 families (plus a waiting list) have signed up for a series of hands-on workshops where we learn about the traditions and technicalities of growing grains, then work on a designated plot on their farm to put words to action.

One of the speakers today - the editor of Small Farm Canada magazine - remarked that this is probably the biggest experiment in Canada of this nature. 57 families planting over 20 varieties of grains, using a variety of techniques, side-by-side for an entire growing season, with the intention of then taking that learning back to our own farms and backyards and community gardens. That a young new-farmer couple could have and manifest this vision is extraordinary; that so many families would rise to the challenge is testimony to the hunger we are increasingly experiencing for personal involvement in our food economy.

As for the wire worms, I guess they're just hungry like us, not evil. But they do decimate entire crops, and our dream of grinding our own oatmeal and picking our own quinoa is worth a bit of worm-guts on my hands.

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