In everything we do as an organization we connect back to our community. We can’t wait to work more in Toronto to help build Indigenous Food Sovereignty in our city. Community members can get involved in our traditional food and medicine gardens this spring.
Traditional Food Garden at Ashbridge’s Estate
In 2017, Ojibiikaan established a traditional food garden at Ashbridge Estate in collaboration with Building Roots and Ontario Heritage Trust. The project engaged Indigenous youth and adult volunteers in preparing the land, planting seeds and tending the plants using traditional agricultural techniques, including re-learning planting songs and ceremonies from First Nations farmers and Tradition Keepers. We are at Ashbridge Estate again this summer to grow three sisters crops and traditional medicines. Feel free to stop by and explore the gardens! Email us if you want to volunteer!
The project at Ashbridge also launched our seed saving activities, and we continue to collect traditional seeds from various sources to build our seed bank, as well as attending seed swaps and meetups.
Feel free to story by and explore the garden! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to volunteer.
Crawford Lake Three Sisters Garden
In Spring 2018, Ojibiikaan worked in partnership with Conservation Halton to plant the Three Sisters at Crawford Lake Conservation Area. A Wyandot (Huron-Wendat) village once stood here, and it is now the site of three reconstructed Longhouses and a conservation area where the public can learn about the history of the land and the Wyandot people.
The people who originally lived in this village over 600 years ago were farmers who grew three main crops; corn (Wyandot: önenha’), beans (Wyandot: oyare’sa), and squash (Wyandot: yasheta’); each considered to be gifts from the Creator, these plants are also commonly known as the Three Sisters. Grown together they make up an important agricultural system, and eaten together they form a nutritionally complete diet.
At Crawford Lake, Ojibiikaan has established 13 mounds with our traditional crops, the Three Sisters. The demonstration garden is planted according to Traditional Ecological Knowledge and ceremony, and will be used for reclaiming Indigenous agricultural practices and saving heritage crop varieties. The garden has brought the three sisters back to its traditional land!
Crawford Lake is pleased to be home to this important initiative supporting Indigenous farmers, food sovereignty, and heritage seed propagation.
Mia’s Medicine Garden
Mia’s medicine garden is located within the community garden at Christie Pitts Park in Toronto. These sacred medicines are planted in memory of Mia Pesim Pedersen (2002-2018), who loved wholesome food and wished to help with nurturing this garden. The four Anishnawbe medicines are: giizhik (white cedar); mshkodewashk (sage); asema (tobacco); and wiingaashk (sweetgrass); with their companion plant, odei’min (strawberry).