There was a time when everybody came together in the spring and shared with one another at harvest time. Those are the values the Men’s Fire would like to see again for the people of Six Nations. And that is why they are putting in a Community Garden on Chiefswood Road for the benefit of the people of Six Nations.
Roxanne Farmer has donated the use of the land for the community garden and the seedlings have been purchased from MacDonald’s Nursery through the Men’s Fire with the financial help of a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
“We really appreciate their help,” says Bill Monture.
Over the past week, members of the Men’s Fire and their families have tilled almost 4 acres on Chiefswood Road and are currently planting the seedlings in designated rows.
“We’re just inviting people to come and put in a little time here and when harvest comes, they can share in the bounty,” says Monture.
A wide range of produce is being planted for the people to share.
“There are around 600 cucumber plants going in,” Monture says. “Another 600 tomato plants as well. We’re also putting in white corn.”
Also being planted this week are onions, water melons, musk melons, pumpkins, red and white radishes, peppers, beans, and other vegetables for fresh produce and for canning and pickling preserves for the winter months.
“And its all organic,” says Monture.
In the process, Monture and the Men’s Fire are hoping that more than vegetables will grow in this garden. Their larger desire is that the people will be reconnected with each other and with the land in some way by planting and nurturing the garden together as families.
“We just want to give something back to the community,” says Monture. “It’s just so satisfying during harvest at the end of the year to see what you have done.”
Lester Green has been working the rototiller and planting the seedlings and is excited about the possibilities.
“The whole idea is about getting out together as families and letting the kids know that it’s OK to get in there and get dirty, come back and water and weed, and watch the plants grow,” he says. “Then, when it’s time to harvest, to participate in that too. The whole time we are all interacting, telling stories and sharing knowledge. They’re learning, hands on, how to put plants in the ground and watch them grow and take part in the harvest too.”
Green believes that anytime you get your hands dirty you are interacting with Mother Earth, and while you are doing that, building something for the future.
“Last year we did something like this at my place, across the road from here,” says Monture. “It was a lot smaller but we had 98 tomato plants and none of it went to waste. I was really glad that people came and we gave it away and in return they brought us a jar or two of what they had preserved. That was awesome.”
If anyone would like to get their hands dirty and reap the rewards from Mother Earth, they can call Bill Monture at 519-802-5562.
“You don’t have to put a whole lot of time in,” he says. “Just weed and water, and maybe help with some planting, that’s all.”
Last year they bought a 1,000-gallon tank for water so if there is a drought, they will have a back up.
“We’re asking people to come and help out a little bit to weed and water and Mother Earth will do the rest,” says Green.