Gardening Tips for Seedy Characters: Week 44

What to do this week

This column is usually about the things I am currently getting up to in my garden. This week I happen to be on my way to Iqaluit via Ottawa for a visit with my daughter. The garden, however, was still present.

“Open up your bag, please Ma’am,” said the security officer at the Ottawa airport. “We have some concerns.”

“What is this?” he asked, holding up a squashed spherical object. “And what else do you have in your suitcase?”

“Root vegetables and long underwear” I responded promptly, anxious to be helpful, ”I’m going to the Arctic and I hear I‘ll need both. That’s a winter squash you’re holding.”

Fortunately for me, it was early on Saturday morning and they didn’t have other, more important characters to interrogate so he started to laugh, and called the other members of the security team over to see how a Cape Breton gardener packs for vacation.

The rest of my luggage was equally unusual as my daughter had ensured her winter comfort by packing two plastic bins with an assortment of Big Spruce Brewery ales. She subsequently took a picture of it packed safely in the fridge in her Iqaluit apartment and posted it on-line for a joke. Her brother remarked that it looked like the treeline was further north than originally thought.

It seems my family is overly obsessed with their personal food security but really, everyone should be, and none more than those in the Arctic. Just shopping for groceries with Rosie today, I found out you can really get almost anything you want in Iqaluit (it is Nunavut’s capital after all), even along very globally ethnic lines, just as long as your line of credit doesn’t have a meltdown. But I’ve only been here 24 hours. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll give you my postcard view of food in the North.





Market gardener, farmer, workshop leader, seed-saver, political candidate and mother, Michelle Smith has spent over 30 years coping with the challenges of our bioregion and in the process has built a store of practical and technical knowledge. The Inverness resident has served on the board of Seeds of Diversity Canada and represented Alternative Producers with the Federation of Agriculture but can do nothing about her hair. She is pictured with a head of Club Wheat, a seed that shares her approach to hairdressing.




Backyard food gardener Madeline Yakimchuk caught the food-security bug in the early ’90s through Cuba’s Urban Agriculture Department, taking her first permaculture course and planting her first garden. She can often be found discussing food security, nurturing a plant-based lifestyle or trying to give away vegetables. Professionally, she is GRYPHON media productions but sometimes uses la bruja in her volunteer work, most notably in managing the garden column, which begins life as a telephone interview.