Who are we?
We are a couple who believes in harmony with nature and one another. Together with the community we would like to build an agroecological, sustainable, collaborative farm where everyone works to build a viable, fun, respectful, learning environment.
Working with food has always been a big part of Denise’s life. For over 20 years she has worked in the hospitality field, and for 18 years has been growing vegetables, saving seeds, preserving, and canning.
She is also a knitter, sewer, cook, baker, and a photographer who believes that you can make a lot of what we buy in the stores yourself. She is willing to try (almost) anything once!
Through gardening she has learned to work with nature — and is a big fan of companion planting on raised beds using SPIN farming and trellising. Over the years her interests have grown more towards food sovereignty, improving the biodiversity of her garden, and experimenting with more seeds that are native to the area where she lives.
Traveling extensively throughout the world has broadened her sense of taste and use of different spices. She has experimented with growing different herbs and spices, including sage, cilantro, fennel, and cumin, as well as crops you don’t often see in Eastern Ontario, such as chickpeas and peanuts. Denise has also developed the Valens Boxcar tomato variety, grown from saved seed while preserving its unique squar-ish shape for more than five consecutive years.
Denise was coordinator of the Appleseed Collective Revival, a gleaning social enterprise of Transition Guelph, whose goal is to increase the production and accessibility of locally and sustainably-grown food in Guelph urban neighbourhoods, with an emphasis on education, social justice and community-building. Through Appleseed Collective Revival, Denise learnt how to engage, coordinate and recruit volunteers, organize the harvests, connect with local farmers, and with the local business community – by selling apple and pear sauces in restaurants, a gourmet food store and the farmer’s market.
Born and raised on a dairy farm in eastern Ontario, Phil pursued an interdisciplinary education that included law, sociology, silviculture, graphic design, farming, political economy, and web marketing.
Currently, Phil is a Research Associate at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems and Nourishing Communities, Associate Director of Just Food, and the principal investigator of Project SOIL. Phil spends his spare time on the board of Sustain Ontario.