Jeffery Bernard waters rows of broccoli within the backyard subsequent to the Lennox Island greenhouse.
The backyard was there lengthy earlier than the greenhouse undertaking was launched by the First Nation group within the winter of 2020.
Bernard has been engaged on the backyard for about three years now — a job that teaches him loads, not nearly gardening however about many issues in life, he mentioned.
“My time right here within the final three years, I’ve seen I’ve grown with the greens.”
Bernard and different gardeners have been bringing that studying alternative to different group members. And so, the Lennox Island Greenhouse and Gardens has change into greater than only a place the place folks can get recent produce at reasonably priced costs, but in addition a spot for schooling, he mentioned.
Throughout the college yr, college students from John J. Sark Memorial Faculty visited the greenhouse and have been taught to do issues like weeding and planting seeds of cucumbers, carrots and beans.
Additionally they realized the significance of consuming recent wholesome meals.
“Plenty of them thought that [food] grew on cabinets in Walmart, the place now they understand that numerous work goes into the meals that they purchase,” Bernard mentioned.
‘Much more folks that need to eat wholesome’
Supervisor Mark Ellands additionally hopes the ability can encourage the group to devour extra recent and regionally grown produce moderately than mass-produced objects, he mentioned.
And he is glad to see there was an growing demand for the produce grown on the greenhouse since its first season final summer season.
“Final yr, meals would sit on the shelf eternally. And now we discover this yr, there’s much more folks which are discovering extra about it and much more folks that need to eat wholesome.”
Ellands mentioned he additionally hopes folks can be taught extra about sustainable gardening after they go to Lennox Island Greenhouse and Gardens.
Whereas the greens grown on the facility aren’t licensed natural, he and his group attempt to use natural practices, he mentioned.
“To me, it is very unnatural to place pesticides, herbicides, all that sort of stuff down. In case you can mitigate it or stop it altogether, I imply, why not strive? It is somewhat bit extra effort, however it’s so rewarding.”
For instance, the group of gardeners makes garlic and peppermint sprays to cope with pests like cabbage moths.
“The cabbage moth, they will odor a brassica plant from miles away. So if you spray garlic spray on it, or lavender or peppermint or one thing like that, it completely modifications the odor of the plant, and it makes it loads tougher for them to seek out the vegetation.”
The crew additionally grows completely different sorts of flowers, some to draw bugs already within the greenhouse and others to attract helpful bugs that prey on these bugs, Ellands mentioned.
“We’ve marigolds in there, and marigolds appeal to aphids and spider mites. We’ve nasturtiums, which additionally appeal to helpful bugs like lacewings and ladybugs to assist management the aphid inhabitants,” he mentioned.
“So it is sort of like making somewhat ecosystem contained in the ecosystem of the greenhouse.”
Conventional Medicinal Crops
In the meantime, Jeffery Bernard has one other imaginative and prescient for the ability: a spot the place folks can find out about conventional medicines.
He is planning on rising sweetgrass within the subsequent few weeks. The herb has already been planted in one in every of a number of greenhouses in Atlantic Canada that accomplice with the Lennox Island Greenhouse and Gardens.
“If they will do it there, I’ll try to do it right here.”
Bernard grabs the backyard hose and continues watering the greens — one thing he does twice a day throughout weekdays and on the weekend.
He finds it therapeutic, he mentioned.
“I fished for a few years. I used to be on the water for a few years and lots of elders I’ve spoken to speak about getting again to the land and gardening being probably the greatest methods to assist with stress, to assist handle PTSD or something thoughts -wise,” Bernard mentioned.
“I discover that for me, coming in right here, it simply brings me again to nature and I get power from the land.”