Seeds, soil, worms and food were all included in the Seedy Saturday activities in Truro on March 1.
The seventh local Seedy Saturday, which is hosted by the Living Earth Council, was held at the Truro Farmers’ Market. Visitors could enjoy music and lunch, buy and trade seeds, purchase a variety of foods and crafts, and attend workshops. Young visitors could also enjoy fun activities in the children’s corner.
Stephanie Mayfield led a workshop on vermiculture (composting using worms) as well as setting up a booth, with her husband John, for their business Home Steady. She calls the business a “preparedness, self-sufficiency and homesteading store.” Information on what they offer can be found on the Home Steady Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HomeSteadyStore .
During another workshop, April McHattie spoke about her trip to Nicaragua with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. She and seven others helped with composting and other areas of farming during a 16-day visit.
“There is a rainy season and a dry season there and not much grows in the dry season,” she said. “The dirt is dry and hard and it takes a long time to dig a 15 centimeter hole.”
The group worked with four local women, learning about the difficulties they face and teaching them methods that will help them grow more food. These women will share what they learn with others.
They made compost of sesame and corn stalks, dirt, manure, ashes and water. Once the compost was ready they dug 15-centimeter deep holes every 20 centimeters in the gardens and filled those with the material.
“By doing this they had more hydrated soil with more nutrients,” explained McHattie. “They could plant two sets of crops in one rainy season and get enough grain for the year. Some people had excess grain they could trade for other food. Adding compost didn’t seem like a big deal but it provided many benefits.”
She said that rice, beans and tortillas are the staple foods in the area she visited.
Another job she helped with was to construct a living fence, made of spiky plants, around a garden.
She was in an isolated area. Although it was only about 20 kilometers from a city it would have been a major trip because the roads were in such poor condition.
“We all worked together and got along well,” she added. “There were benefits with food but spiritually it was life changing.”
Rob Carreau led a workshop on keeping hens in the town of Truro. Because of his son Miles’ interest his family got five hens in December of 2012. They built a 3 X 5 foot coop, with roosts and an attached run, in the backyard of their home. The birds, which represent three heritage breeds, have been laying eggs regularly.
“We get three or four eggs a day from five hens, other than during their moulting period,” he said. “We only have hens. One of the rules in town is ‘no roosters’.”
Jason Fox, director of planning with the town, said that Truro came up with a plan because they had heard about issues involving livestock in other communities.
“We wanted to be ahead of the curve and have a bylaw in place. We wanted to address the issue before it became an issue.”
Regulations about what animals, and how many, are permitted are dependent upon the amount of land the person has.
Dalhousie University set up a booth for the day to promote their seed library, which will be launched March 17 at 2 pm in the MacRae Library. The seed library will include non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds. Members will be able to check out seeds and enjoy their harvest, and are asked to let some go to seed. Those seeds are to be taken to the library to share with others. More information on the program can be obtained by contacting Jolene Reid at email@example.com or 893-4578.