OPEN HOUSE: Allard St. Community Garden celebrates 10th Anniversary


The Allard Street Community Garden, located at 105 Allard St. is extending a warm invitation to the general public to visit its site on Saturday, June 23, 2012 from 10-4 pm to tour its lush vegetable gardens and fruit orchard and meet some of its members. The garden, created in July 2003 with the aid of a Trillium Foundation grant and the hard work of the Sault Ste. Marie Horticultural Society and six partnering organizations, is celebrating its 10th year of operation.

This organic garden offers interested citizens of all ages, incomes and abilities the opportunity to rent 60 garden plots and 7 raised planter boxes in which they can grow healthy, nutritious and affordable food that would otherwise not be available to them for the low cost of $20/year. It has become a second home to many who live in apartments or who have no access to green space in our city.

“I am amazed at all the changes that have occurred during the past ten years. Our fruit orchard and raspberry bushes are teeming with fruit and our perennial border that recently underwent a facelift is now awash with colour and bustling with life as evidenced by the presence of birds and beneficial insects. It is exhilarating to know that this garden has grown incrementally year after year to meet the needs of a growing and diverse membership and has served as a model for others to create additional community gardens in our city such as the People’s Garden at Algoma University and the newly formed one located at St. Matthews Anglican Church” states Suzanne Hanna, Garden Coordinator.

Passionate gardeners clearly understand what the Allard Street Community Garden stands for. They realize that they just don’t grow vegetables in their plots. They grow hope and cultivate a sense of community when they work together towards a common goal. The garden promotes self-reliance by helping people to help themselves and values team work, cooperation, service and lifelong learning. Most of all, this community garden honours diversity and respect for all living things.

It is especially poignant this year that as the garden membership celebrates its many blessings they are ever mindful of some of their members who are no longer with them. A memorial bed sporting plaques bearing the names of such passionate gardeners and two new benches courtesy of Clean North will be acknowledged during a special ceremony during the Open House.

Someone once said, “Gardens don’t grow just where they’re sown; they spread out runners, teaching the young, inspiring the old and giving neighbourhoods new hope.”

If you are in the neighbourhood, stop by. The garden is open from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday through Sunday, from April to October. Open the gate and have a look at the Allard Street Community Garden, one of our city’s “best kept secrets”.

Better still, take part in this year’s Open House on Saturday, June 23rd from 10 am – 4 pm and visit the various displays and demonstrations. Have a piece of cake under the shade structure and allow the beauty and serenity of the garden to seep into your soul.

For more information, contact Suzanne Hanna at 705-759-2893 or by email at

St. Matt’s Community Garden Opens in the Sault

St. Matthew’s Anglican Church has recently broken ground on the St. Matt’s Community Garden in the Sault’s east end! At the rear of the St. Matthew’s property (1643 Wellington St. E.), garden plots (raised beds) are available for anyone in the community to rent for the season.

Ground was officially broken last Saturday where 16 raised beds were installed at the site. The garden is open for anyone with an interest in gardening, regardless of skill or ability.

The garden will be hosting a learning session with Suzanne Hanna from Allard Street Community Garden on Tuesday June 5th at 6 pm.  The first session will be on seed selection and will cover the basics on planting. A followup session will occur the following week (date TPD) on plant placement and transplanting (e.g. tomatoes and peppers).

You can stay in touch with the project at

To download a 2012 garden package with more info, click here.

Good Food Stories – Video #2!

With Earth Day right around the corner we thought April would be a perfect month to focus on ways that food and farming are helping to enhance our natural environments and combat climate change. Check out these videos to learn more about Ontarians that are growing a better environment – as well as great food!

Watch our second Good Food Stories video:

Good Food Stories: Farm Algoma

Over the summer, the Algoma Food Network and its partners undertook a project to work with Powerline Films and Sustain Ontario to produce two short documentaries on food and farming in Algoma. The first documentary looks at the potentials of farming in Algoma and the second is due to be released in the coming months.

Farm Algoma from Simon Brothers on Vimeo.

The Algoma Food Network thanks everyone was involved with this project.

OSEA’s Community Power Roadmap to Success Workshop

Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) and NORDIK Institute are hosting a hands-on workshop in Sault Ste. Marie on Friday September 23, 2011.

At this workshop OSEA will walk you through an overview for a project that will give you the basic tools required to get a community solar power project started in your own community. The goal is to engage established community-based organizations and institutional groups with assets and to build up their capacity to collaborate on their own community power projects. Community power projects can be ideal for a range of applications including arenas, community halls, churches, museums, hospitals, co-operatives, and non-profit organizations.

Where:                The Delta Hotel – G. Simpson Meeting Room AB 208 St. Mary’s River Dr. Sault Ste. Marie, ON

When:                 Friday September 23, 2011  9:00AM until Noon

Featuring:           Harry French (Guest speaker and workshop leader) Bio:

To register for this event get your free ticket at:

Alternatively, you can contact Community Power Coordinator Danny Goedhard to register:   (705) 949-2301 x4378

Check out the event page on Facebook:

If you know a community organization or community that could benefit, please forward this on!

OSEA inspires and enables the people of Ontario to improve the environment, the economy and their health by producing clean sustainable energy in their homes, businesses and communities. Full details at and

 This event is part of Soo Sustainable, Sault Ste. Marie’s 1st Annual Green Days hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre. For more info on Soo Sustainable events, visit

All the best, Alex!

For the last seven months, Alexandra Jaffit has been working hard with Algoma Food Network partners to strengthen networks and market local agriculture. This past week she launched the 2011 Buy Algoma. Buy Fresh. producers directory that is making its way around to farmers’ markets, coffee shops, and points of interest around Algoma District. This directory connects rural farmers with local consumers, tourists, and restaurants who wish to source local products.

The new 2011 Buy Algoma Buy Fresh directory can be downloaded here (PDF): Buy Algoma. Buy Fresh. 2011 Directory

You can also get more detailed descriptions of what farmers’ have to offer at the Buy Algoma. Buy Fresh. website (

Algoma Food Network thanks Alexandra for all her hard work and wishes her the best in future endeavors. She is now a true locavore as she has just started getting food from a CSA through Desbarats Country Produce.

Goat is Good

NORDIK Institute, along with the Algoma Sheep and Lamb Producers Association, is excited to announce its research regarding local lamb and local chevon (meat goats).

There will be two focus groups, which will take place later this week, to discuss preferences to eating lamb and/or chevon, and how local producers could meet consumer’s needs. This initiative was brought about in order to determine the feasibility of a market based co-operative for lamb and meat goat producers in the Algoma District.

Sound interesting? The two focus groups are open to the general public, both taking place at Algoma University.

WHEN: Thursday June 23rd from 7-8pm and Friday June 24th from 1-2pm

WHERE: The Speak Easy, Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie

Can’t make the focus group, but still want to have a say?  Click here to fill out our online survey!

For more information please contact:

Broderick Causley
or call 705.949.2301 x4378

See more here!

More goat to eat in Algoma

An open forum will be held for local farmers, stakeholders, and consumers interested in pursuing opportunities in the local goat market.

Hosted by NORDIK Institute, the forum will discuss past strategies, emerging ethnic markets, and analyzing the local market.

When: Monday December 13th, 2010

Where: Community Centre in the Desbarats Arena (1 Cameron Ave., Desbarats)

Time: 7PM-9PM

Colleen Alloi of Collholm Farms in Echo Bay states that the market for local goat appears to have increased and that more research needs to be done to identify the demand for locally grown animals in the Algoma district. “How big is the market for goat in Algoma, and how can producers be best positioned to meet it?” are the big questions, states Alloi.

The changing provincial demographics have led to changes in food preferences of consumers and Algoma goat producers are experiencing the results of this shift, with the primary market for goat now found in the diverse ethnic population.  Some 63 per cent of red meat consumed worldwide is goat meat, providing new opportunities for expansion by Algoma farmers.

David Thompson, NORDIK researcher states that “Goat would help stabilize farming incomes across the year because of higher peaks in demand prompted by on holidays in the Muslim and Hindu calendars.” NORDIK is particularly interested in development opportunities that diversify and sustain local communities.

About NORDIK (Northern Ontario Research, Development, Ideas, and Knowledge) Institute

NORDIK works with communities and community-based organizations to address social and economic challenges and develop long-term sustainable solutions. For more info, visit Institute has been working with the Algoma Food Network and groups of producers, including Penokean Hills Farms, a group of local beef producers, around finding sustainable alternatives for local food production since 2007.

Click here for a list of producers currently selling goat.


Algoma Food Network presents “Good Food for All”

Who is Debbie Field: For the past eighteen years, Debbie Field has been the Executive Director of FoodShare Toronto, Canada’s largest community based food security organization. She has helped to build FoodShare into Canada’s largest food security organization with an annual budget of over $6 million. Debbie has an honour's B.A. in Sociology from Trent University and a Masters in Adult Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Local food for a healthier Sault Ste. Marie

Keynote Speaker: Debbie Field
Executive Director of FoodShare Toronto

Friday November 5th, 2010
Willowgrove United Church 55 Tilley Road

1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Charting the Future of Food: Exploring a Sault Food Charter with Debbie Field

  • Overview of food security and Algoma food resources
  • How can a food charter help improve access to healthy, sustainably produced food in Sault Ste. Marie?
  • Interactive discussion: How do we move forward? Tell us what you think!

This portion of the event is open for everyone to attend, especially those who work in the public, economic development, and not-for-profit sector. To register for this portion of the event, call 705-541-7158 or e-mail by November 2, 2010.

7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Public Forum
with Keynote Speaker Debbie Field
Join the Algoma Food Network to discuss how to improve Sault Ste. Marie’s access to locally grown, farm fresh food and how to make our community a healthier place to live. This public forum is open to everyone to attend.

Displays and resources
Refreshments available


Buy Algoma, Buy Fresh: Your Guide to Locally Grown Products

A fresh initiative that has been growing over the summer is ready for harvest.

NORDIK Institute, Johnson Township, the Algoma Food Network, and local farmers are excited for the launch of a directory of local food and agricultural products. The initiative, Buy Algoma, Buy Fresh, aims to connect consumers with producers in the Algoma District to strengthen the agricultural sector.

Find local products. The group of organizations and local producers compiled over forty-two producers into a directory. On the Buy Algoma, Buy Fresh website (, consumers can search for local products and producers in the area. A brochure also features information about producers and what they offer.

A lot of variety. Consumers can find many products, including organic meat, honey, eggs, and a variety of alpaca products. It is also easy to find types of producers who use organic practices, make deliveries, meet wholesale demands, or sell shares for summer crops (community supported agriculture).

Where can I get it? In Sault Ste. Marie, the brochure is available at Dish: Espresso Bar & Café and the Algoma Farmers’ Market. It is also at various locations in the Algoma District including Kent’s Corner (St. Joseph Island), Johnson Township Farmers’ Market, and Little Rapids General Store.

If you’d like more information on where you can obtain a copy, contact David Thompson at NORDIK Institute: 705-949-2301 ext 4348.

Thanks! Buy Algoma, Buy Fresh also thanks the following sponsors for making this project happen: Algoma 4-H Association, Algoma Federation of Agriculture, Algoma Public Health, Algoma Sheep and Lamb Producers, Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie & Area, East Algoma Community Futures Development Corporation, Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp., and Slow Food Sault Ste. Marie.