From May 3 – 13, we were lucky enough to have Rachelle Premack, a Katimavik volunteer living and working with us in the gardens. Unfortunately, Rachelle is one of the last of her kind: Katimavik was just axed by the Harper government.
Here is her story (and a couple of her photos).
For the past ten days, I had the pleasure of billeting with Anne & Andrew at Aylmer Backyard Farms. I am a Katimavik volunteer currently living in Ottawa from Brandon, Manitoba. Part of the Eco-citizenship Active Living Katimavik program is placement on an organic and sustainable farm. I was lucky because all of the Backyard plots are in Aylmer which is all new to me, my first time being in Quebec!
The first plot I saw was on Brook and already had carrots, kale, and lettuce started with Kohlrabi to be planted mañana (one the words I learned from Anne. It’s spanish and means in the future or sometime soon). The second garden and the largest I went to work was Eardley. At Eardley I dug up weeds, and used a hand tool for weed whacking (the amazon tool I liked to call it!). Here we also transplanted kale and swiss chard among the other plants already growing.
The last plot I met was my favourite. I went to Crescent for the first time for a full day worker bee. It was a Saturday, and when we first arrived on site, it was simply an expansive backyard of green lawn which the home owner admitted didn’t have much purpose so, we tilled it back into earth! There were about ten volunteers between the morning and afternoon. We dug up patches of quack grass by hand with spades and hori hori knives, squashed pesty white grubs, rototilled, dug trenches, hammered in fence posts, and stapled up chicken wire and voila, we had a plot. Approximately 2,500 square feet of earth for veggies! The other days that Anne, the interns, volunteers and I went to the “Crescent” garden plot were spent measuring and raking the paths and rows, and spreading compost on afterward. While I was there we even transplanted in a row of cauliflower! I was satisfied to see the creation of a plot and see it through to the first plant. The worker bee was even covered by the Aylmer Bulletin! Check it out here: http://www.bulletinaylmer.com/en/2012/05/09/english-aylmer-backyard-farms-grows-a-new-backyard/.
Overall, volunteering for a CSA is a great hands on, educational experience which can bring people together with one common goal: to grow! I am grateful for my time with Anne and Andrew at the Backyard Farms.
-by Rachelle Premack, Katimavik Volunteer 2012