Root Cellar Gardens is an off-grid, organic farm. It is situated on a piece of land originally homesteaded by Frank Turner in 1927. While the site of the original garden is unknown, vegetables are now being grown on land reclaimed from the twitch grass that had made a home for itself in the abandoned hay fields. In 2009 ground was broken using draft horses and a walking plow, and the first Root Cellar garden was born. In the years that followed, soils were built and weeds brought under control through the use of black plastic mulch, green manures, diligent hand-weeding and smother crops. Smother crops are crops such as clover and vetch that fix nitrogen to feed the soil, and rye grass whose roots are shallow and spreading. This prevents weeds from pushing up from below. Evalisa continues to use these measures today as part of the crop rotation practiced.
In 2013 a second, larger garden space was plowed up. 2015 was its first year in production. This process of expanding- turning up new garden spaces, nourishing the soil, and putting them into production, will continue until 2018.
Root Cellar Gardens is owned and operated by Evalisa McIllfaterick. An Ottawa, Ontario native, Evalisa now has her roots firmly planted in the beautiful boreal forests of South Gillies, Ontario.
Evalisaís passion for the outdoors and love for the land began at an early age. Growing up, she spent summers at Camp Davern where she was introduced to ecologically mindful practices such as taking only what you need and walking lightly on the environment. She also learnt the value of hard work and the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing things yourself.
This grounding philosophy continued to grow through her involvement in environmental and social activism, post secondary education (graduate of Lakeheadís Outdoor Recreation, Park and Tourism program) and extensive experiences as a wilderness canoe tripper. Evalisa began learning about growing and homesteading in 2007. Since then she has been involved with area growers in many capacities, such as a WWOOFer, volunteer, mentee , and employee. In these years she has been able to build up not only a knowledge base, but also a skill set and community.
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