the secret extra ingredient

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Who are we? part2

It’s not all boot camp workouts.

an afternoon moment inspired by Kate with the Zephyr and Santropol crew.

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Preserving the Harvest: A Visual Guide to Midsummer Canning

Around about now (August) you might find yourself overwhelmed with the abundance of produce the earth has to share. You can sell it, eat it, give it away, and still you’ll have vegetables tucked into just about every corner of your apartment.

Too much of a good thing

A joke (courtesy of Howard Reitman):

Q: Why do people in Vermont lock their car doors during the summer?
A: To stop farmers from leaving their zucchini in the back seat.

Once you’ve exhausted all your close friends and random people off the street with seconds it’s time to bust out the big pots and mason jars.

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Santropol Field Trips

Downtown team visits the farm

“Why are those zucchinis covered?” asks eight year old David.

“Well, you see, we don’t use pesticides so it’s a way to keep the bugs out,” I tell him.

“Hmm,” he replies, “I see a lot of bugs in there, I think you should have put some more rocks on to keep it down.”

The summer is in full swing and David is a part of the first group of school age kids that will be touring the Santropol Urban Rural Farm Exchange. While our aim is to produce a lot of good ol’ wholesome food, there is a strong community component to our organization. There are endless activities going on downtown at HQ and in keeping with educational/community building theme of Santropol, each week Noémie braves the island traffic to bring a busload of kids out to learn where their food comes from.

Don’t step on the seedling please!

You can find a lot of harrowing statistics discussing the disconnect between people, particularly kids, and their food source, but I’d rather not focus on that. Though many of the kids have never been to a farm I am always impressed with the information they know, such as which vegetables each plant produces. Of course there are always a few young Davids that don’t mind giving me a tip or two on my farming practices.


Growing up in the Kootenays I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by natural spaces. While parks and urban gardens are greening up cities I personally think kids don’t have enough space to simply run wild and play. For me the best part of these tours is watching everyone take off into the back section of the McGill field to start up an impromptu game of chicken-freeze tag. After an hour of running around in open fields burning off energy, kids (I think Noémie will agree) make terrific passengers for the commute back to the city.

Free range children

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Who are we?

morning warm up

On paper we’re 4 farms, but on the field – we are many.
Former & current – photographers, financial traders, biologists, professors, activists, film makers, advertising execs, students, artists ….. all farming Image


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welcome to THE DIRT ON IT

a modern tribute to Monet

Welcome to THE DIRT ON IT – stories from a field. These are our stories and they all stem literally from one patch of dirt.

Who are we? A haphazard mix- spanning ages, different histories, numerous associations, aspirations and growing habits. Rational – perhaps some of the time, social – always. Without guarantees, and beyond what any traditional farmer or municipal developer could have ever envisioned, the creativity and the experiments from this patch of dirt are spreading like rhizomes.

THE DIRT ON IT is our story to tell. A place for all of us to share ideas, discoveries, pictures, song of the week, flub of the week, dog of the week, it’s the real deal: the real dirt on it.
For more info about how to join email:
or check out the sign posts in the field and happy blogging!

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