Saulteaux First Nation’s Garden Contest feeds the community in mind and body
- Rose Mansbridge-Goldie
Pulling massive veggies out of the dirt, winning some money and feeding her community is what Gloria Flammond accomplished by participating in Saulteaux First Nation’s Garden Contest.
"What I love most about gardening is the natural food that you're able to grow for your family," she said.
“It shows our community how good it feels to live off the land.”
Norma Pewapisconias, a Saulteaux First Nation counsellor loves seeing how gardening inspires good overall health.
“You’re outside, your feet and hands are in the dirt, you’re getting lots of sunshine—it promotes good mental health,” she said.
September 8 marked the First Nation’s 6th annual contest and Flammond took home the prize for some of the biggest vegetables, including a two-pound cucumber.
Other categories include largest potato, zucchini, carrot, turnip and sunflower, as well as funniest looking carrot and funniest looking potato.
Flammond won $950 for placing in seven of nine categories, but the biggest prize in her mind is a well-fed community.
She distributes her garden produce to other members of the Saulteaux First Nation and still has plenty left over for ther family. They survive off the produce from the garden all winter and still have preserves left from last summer.
“You give and you get back in many ways,” Flammond said. “It may not be financially but it might be emotionally, physically—there are many kinds of support.”
“It's pride and it's love and it's joy,” she said.
Gardening teaches the rewards that come from the hard work of rototilling, planting, weeding and harvesting, she said.
A heatwave and hail resulted in lower participation in the contest this year because of the heatwave and hail, with 10 out of approximately 70 gardens entering the competition.
Flammond will use most of the prize money to plant next year’s garden and is thankful to Saulteaux First Nation for providing this opportunity for people to grow fresh vegetables for their neighbours.