Garden of Eating Virtual Tour

The Garden of Eating is our demonstration space and commitment to building an edible landscape that is abundant, profitable, beautiful, ecologically diverse, educational, and fun. At the same time, we realize this is not created from a magic wand. It is only through careful years of observation, planning, and adaptation of best practices that we can achieve this.

Want to see more detail to this covid-friendly tour? See our Workshops and Workstays page for more information on property and orchard tours to learn more about the design behind and learn about the paradise of nuts, fruits, herbs, and mushrooms that can grow in our climate.

 

Technical Overview of the GARDEN of EATING

  • Legal: Zoned Rural and Environmental Protection
  • Topography: Canadian Hardiness Zone 6a/5b moderated by the Georgian Bay and Niagara Escarpment. Within the Centreville Creek watershed. Gently sloping with a SE facing aspect. SW winds predominate, upwind of the apple orchard sprays.
  • Soil: on the loamier side of Vincent silty clay loam which is considered CLI Class 1 soil, slightly alkaline, easy to work, adequate topsoil depth but 10m depth to bedrock
  • Water: seasonally high water table, neighbours on dug well, good water quality
  • Plant hardiness: Canadian Plant Hardiness Zone 5b/6a, 150 frost-free days, 2000 growing degree days, 2800 crop heat units
  • Vegetation: maple-ash-basswood, some ironwood, red oak, cherry, beech, hawthorn, buckthorn, apple, wild pear, serviceberry, 100 acres of mid-succession hardwood, 40 acres of hay
  • Access and circulation: on well-maintained highway 6km NW of downtown Meaford, deep but accessible acreage with hiking and snowshoeing trails extending to the back of the property.

Our Story

Indigenous Homelands

First settlers document the Ojibwe speaking Odawa and the Iroquoian speaking Tionontati/Petun peoples. Despite their cultural differences, these peoples likely co-existed on the same land and were generally respectful to each others' considerations, which were codified in wampum (ex. Dish with One Spoon 'Treaties'). Still, the Tionontati were conquered in 1649 during the fur trade wars by the Haudenosaunee, and this area was eventually resettled by the Odawa.
These people extensively practised gardening, forest farming, foraging, and hunting suited to their culture and local ecosystem. These forest farming practices were so harmonious with the land that they were largely invisible to the settlers and that we are now just rediscovering them.
As we were fed by our ancestors and nourished from the land on which we depend on, it is now our responsibility to pay it forward by nurturing the caretakers of the future. Find out whose land and traditional territory your home resides on, and how the pioneers managed to steward this land.
pre-1649

Treaties with Settlers

Often fleeing difficult times at home and in their new continent, European peoples initiate a long chain of treaties with the Odawa. This region was ceded in the Lake Simcoe-Nottawasaga Treaty 18 in 1818. The Odawa were further displaced in later treaties to what remains of their traditional territory in present-day Saugeen and Nawash reserves. Reconciliation awaits...
1800s-present

First Homestead

Township surveyed in 1833, property settled 1859, abandoned since house fire in ~1976. Up to 75 acres was grazed at one point with cattle, pigs, chickens, and more. Feral apples hint of bygone orchards. Feral garden perennials such as periwinkle and daffodils still dot the old homestead.
oil painting of old homestead
1859

Purchased Property; Observation Year

Sea buckthorn perimeter planted (and a colossal failure), local beekeeper re-establishes hives for a few years.
A 1.5 acre field within the 40 acre hay acreage is keyline plowed and the first orchard rows are planted and mulched.
first saplings planted on contour
Spring 2014

Establishment Year

mapping, planning, designing, seedlings planted for reforestation, remaining contour rows planted and mulched.
establishment year
2015

House Build

constructing full-time residence
house build 2019
2019-present

Future

Playing the slow and steady long game in a diversified farm means engaging more players to build community resilience.
Future project ideas include silvopasture, greenhouse, orchard expansion, value-added, and more.