Moose Factory, Ontario
Year(s) Funded: 2018-2019
Topic Area: Food Security
Contact: Jean Pierre Chabot, Senior Development Officer (MoCreebec Eeyoud)
Partners: MoCreebec Eeyoud Council
Title: Living Learning Leading Garden Project
Action: The primary climate related challenges faced by the Cree Village Ecolodge and MoCreebec Eeyoud in 2018 were:
Results: The climate research allowed us to gather a baseline for the growing conditions here locally. The growing season had its challenges and we have the climate data to prove it. The spring was cold with some late frosts on June 24 and June 25. Tomatoes and other similar plants did not fare well during this late frost and had to be restarted. The early and mid-summer were hot and dry. We did not receive the minimum weekly rainfall that is recommended for fruit baring plants 15 of the 24 weeks that were covered by the project. Most of those drought condition weeks were in the early summer months. Rain became more plentiful only towards the end of August.
The main adaptation comes from a recognition that possibly the best way to adapt to climate when it comes to gardening is to create a protected micro-climate, i.e. greenhouses. The greenhouse that was used in 2018 by far exceeded expectations and produced better produce, for longer, than any of the other garden plots. This should come as little surprise. Additional funding was acquired from the Sustainable New Agri-Food Products & Productivity (SNAPP) Program for a second greenhouse of the same size (10 x 26 feet). Some funds were allocated from CCHAP’s budget to enable the building of the greenhouse foundation. More CCHAP funds were used to purchase a third greenhouse of half the size (10 x 13 feet). These three greenhouses will position the Cree Village Ecolodge to have much better yields of vulnerable species, e.g. tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, and peppers.
The project staff conducted some research on means of reducing weeding, improving soil temperatures (climate adaptation), and reducing damage from wind (climate adaptation) and animals walking across or otherwise disturbing the garden plots. The solution found was to implement garden mats. Garden mats were sourced and purchased for the three main, in-ground garden plots and the straw bales at the Cree Village Ecolodge. The mats are of a dark color, which will help retain heat in the soil and prevent damage from mid-season frosts. The mats will protect the soil from blowing away from strong winds when the soil is dry and exposed. The mats will also help retain moisture and reduce weeds, thus maximizing soil fertilization for desired plants. The mats will also protect the integrity of the straw bales and reduce run-off or the blowing away of top soil. Soil erosion or blowing can expose fragile root systems and negatively affect plant growth and health.
The project also reallocated funds to purchase eight large barrel drums with removable covers. These will be used for cold storage of root vegetables. Being able to preserve large quantities of root vegetables effectively will justify the growing of larger quantities of these plants for use throughout the year.
Outputs: A series of reports presenting findings and activities undertaken.