We are a non-profit corporation founded in 2012.
MISSION: Through tourism, education, hands on experience and cultural activity, to address the issues of food insecurity, sustainable agriculture, and the issues faced by the small family farm.
WHAT IS A BOTANICAL FOOD GARDEN ?
Imagine walking into a beautifully landscaped park with a vast array of perennials, annuals, ground covers, shrubs and lovely arching trees overhead. Meandering pathways, garden structures covered with climbing and flowering plants, and (as we grow) breath-taking sculptures await. Tucked away is a quiet, private, meditative space surrounded by sweeping curved walls that are growing with plants. You hear the aura of live music, the buzz of people enjoying the surroundings, a calming bubbling fountain with colourful fish and water plants waving in the breeze. You find places to sit and ponder while breathing in the deliciousness of the solitude of the rural country....nature...and not much more.
But wait....you will notice all of these plants are, in some way, edible. The shrubs bear fruit, leaves make tea, trees hang with nuts or fruit or perhaps parts of their structure have been used historically for medicines. And when you look closely, you see that the living sculpture is made of herbs and flowering annuals that produce food. The pergola you walked under is supporting miniature trees, their branches trained in horizontal rows with delicate fruit hanging from their branches, and oh the roses-wait!... roses? Rose flowers are only one of the many flowers that can be eaten, not to mention the rosehips produced in the fall that are loaded with vitamin C. There will be much to surprise the visitor about the versatility of food plants at the Bruce Botanical Food Gardens as it develops. These are our plans as the garden develops.
WHY IS IT A RARE EXPERIENCE?
The Gardens (opened in summer 2013) showcase over 250 varieties of rare, endangered, heirloom and world food plants - over 10,000 plants in all-and that's just Phase One. Now, Rome wasn't built in a day. And we aren't promising Rome either. We are inviting you to experience the birth of something uniquely Canadian. We will offer you an experience the first of its kind in Canada. In our very rustic setting, you will learn about ancient plants, plants from countries all over the world, plants with crazy names, and plants from seed arks. You will reconnect with food. You will learn of the important relationship with food our society has lost and the impact it has had on us. But importantly too, you will learn of the challenges of food production by our farming communities, and the unique value that developing our spaces in a sustainable way can bring to our recreational experiences.
WHY ARE WE BUILDING IT?
It's hard to believe that almost 10% of the Canadian population lives in a food insecure household. It's harder to believe that right in the middle of prime farm county in southwestern Ontario that about the same percentage of residents suffer from the same insecurity. That means that they do not have access to or the means to provide their families with affordable, healthy, nutritious, safe, culturally acceptable food at all times to sustain an active lifestyle. It is often caused by lack of income. And we are all just one step away! If you experience loss of employment or suffer from lack of sustainable employment, or you experience a sudden and severe illness or accident or a death in the family, an unexpected legal issue, or perhaps even a natural disaster (like the tornado that devastated Goderich Ontario just 25 minutes away from here), your income can suffer an immediate impact. That's when decisions have to be reached-do you pay your monthly bills? or buy healthy food? Lack of food education is also a risk of food insecurity and it can cross all boundaries. We want to fix that.
Besides presenting food production in an exciting way that will interest visitors to the region, a goal of the Bruce Botanical Food Gardens will be to educate its guests on the issues surrounding food insecurity and teach them about sustainable production of food and the plight of the small family farm. We will provide new opportunities to enjoy learning about food preparation, and engagement with the arts and new cultural activities.
We hope you will join us in our journey and visit this site often to see what's happening (check our our Projects page and our Blog)!
THE FLAVOUR OF THE BRUCE BOTANICAL FOOD GARDENS
Season is coming to a close...come see us before the gates close!
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