Katelyn Landry is the founder and creative director of Fôrij Thrills. This lifestyle brand is an extension of her own passion and excitement for herbs, edible flowers and of course foraging. After discovering a shocking amount of plants on her property were edible, originally identified as ornamental plants or weeds, there was a realization; there's a huge disconnect between "wild urban" food available to us just outside our door step. Fôrij Thrills curates intentional seasonally themed events and workshops to highlight various wild/urban plants as well as their various uses.
Growing up, gardening always felt like a chore. My Birthday always landed on May 24 weekend which always impeded on my self centered beliefs that, well, everything should be about me. Hours were spent preparing the garden soil and weeding...So much weeding!
Fast forward to now, as an adult, I’ve come to realize many things. Gardening is a beautiful practice and pastime. Not only is it a great way to connect with nature but it's highly rewarding. My true love for gardening was ignited in my mid 20’s after successfully growing classic herbs like Thyme, Oregano, Mint and Basil etc. These little action packed petals had me shook because in comparison to store bought dried spices, these fresh herbs actually had flavour. From that point on I was excited to experiment with the odd tomato and zucchini plant among a few others.
Étienne Lavallée is an arts educator, archivist, and urban agrarian. Born in Southern California to a French Cajun and Choctaw father, and a Roma mother, he has gardened in small spaces his entire life. He enjoys foraging, herbalism, botanical illustration, and hiking. He lives in London, Ontario with his beloved husband, some ducks who come and go as they please, and two compost bins.
Greenhorn gardeners tend to tell me the same thing, that they have a brown thumb. They had a few attempts with a bonsai, a cactus, and they gave up, convinced they had an inherent flaw with all green living things. After the failure, after the desiccated remains have been composted, comes the opportunity. This is an opportunity to attune yourself better to the needs of living things around you.
The first year I moved here, I laid down compost and black earth in an experimental plot. The soil was tight clay, rigid and stiff in the hand. I got on my hands and knees and aerated the soil. I added the usual organic amendments, coffee grounds and eggshells. I planted a little bit of everything, and then I observed.
Molly Miksa is a student in Western University's master of media in journalism and communication program. She is also a photographer, mother of two, environmentalist, cycling advocate and proud Londoner.
Now, perhaps more than any time in recent memory, people are looking for ways to produce food at home. Raising backyard chickens is an option for some.
But not for Londoners.
This potential source of daily fresh eggs is something people in various parts of Ontario may be considering. While bylaws making urban chickens legal have been passed in Guelph (1985), Kingston (2011) and Kitchener (2016), and while pilot projects are underway in cities including Toronto and Orillia, poultry are still outlawed in London.
Brooke Hutton is a renegade chicken keeper. She’s been raising chickens at her home in North London for eight or nine years. It started as an educational project, her sons raising the first birds from when they were chicks.
To match this season’s energy and vibrancy, there has been lots of spring activity in urban agriculture here in London. Many of the FUAL working groups have been very active and have a lot to report on. Others might be merging or folding depending on interests and waning or coalescing energies. This is the natural evolution of organic networks! Here are some of the news items some of you may find interesting.
by Terry Nother
A “ Hub” represents a central effective activity point that facilitates the inflow and outflow of all aspirations. The Hub embodies a supporting role in building and nurturing, making each effort stronger and more refined. It provides guidance, knowledge, and resources, as well as a team approach to various projects and processes. A Hub fulfills a desire to expand with a certainty of success, common agenda and visionary focus.
by Andrew Judge
Boozoo! (Greetings!) Mko Mose Indizhnikaz (My spirit name is Bear Walker*[see footnote]), Meshekenh n’doodem (I am Turtle Clan), D'eshkan Ziibi n'doonjiba (I was born and raised along the Horned River [present day London, Ontario]). Anishinaabe, O’jibii’igay inini n’dow (I am an Anishinaabe Ojibway man).
by Gabor Sass
Well, Friends of Urban Agriculture London (FUAL for short) certainly thinks so. But we are not alone. There is a revival of interest in all things agrarian in our city as attested by the mushrooming of farmers markets, innovative restaurants and stores featuring a mixture of local, organic, or vegan foods and backyard as well as community gardens.