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Good Food for All

The Medicines--as Joseph Pitawanakwat calls all Plants--are teaching we gardeners the subtleties of “green” these last sunny days. Harvesting began early this year, with a first bundle of culinary herbs going into The Stop Wychwood Open Door kitchen in mid-April. As May ends, the herb bundles are larger and more diverse: mint, thyme, sage, and, new this week, dill. Bundles of green garlic and a litre bag of salad greens now round out our small contribution to drop-in meals, spinach, red orach, young amaranth, mustard greens and flowers adding colour and flavour.

Harvests-to-come are just becoming established. Powerful winds created by the urban canyon that this place has become over the last century challenge both plants and pollinators, drying the soil and stressing stems. The stick-and-twine structures that will support plants as they grow are almost ready.

But the persistence of the wild is everywhere visible. We saw our first Tiger Swallowtail of the year yesterday, flying into the wind from Rushton and across St. Clair. The native bees on the raspberry flowers have breadbaskets stuffed with pollen. A pawpaw we thought might not survive after suffering serious breakage is leafing out.

Where burlap has been removed to expose soil amended in the fall for spring planting, the resident robin family is making an excellent living. While a ring of garlic around the central mound of the Right Relations garden plus the use of a “dirty wool” layer has deterred the squirrels from digging as much as they have in the past, some seeds have become food while the worm supply seems endless. Once we replant the 3 Sisters who have gone missing, bird netting will go up around the 7 poles until the plants are established.

In the meantime, the 2 fledglings are learning the difference between a stick and a worm, still needing their mother’s help to fill their bellies. Inside, Chef Bronwyn and her volunteer crew are sautéing green garlic for focaccia, preparing a fresh, healthy lunch. The Stop Community Food Centre’s commitment is to good food for all. Out in Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan, we can say that commitment is being met for All Our Relations, human and non.

Below: The pawpaw is broken but unbowed


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