Who is Patchwork

About Patchwork Gardens

Patchwork Gardens is an certified organic local (serving Kingston and Ottawa areas) vegetable farm, located just North of Kingston Ontario. The farm is owned and operated by to families, Eric Williams and family and Megan Joslin, Ian Stutt and family, as well as our great farming crew. Our mission is to grow the most nutrient dense, and as a result best tasting, highest quality vegetables that can exist. We do this by focusing our attention on soil life cycles (see the soil food web). When the soil is healthy and full of life our food is healthy - great tasting - and full of life!

Why Local?

Shopping locally reduces your carbon footprint by reducing the number of kilometers your food travels from farm to table.  Reducing the distance your food travels also increases the freshness.  A local farmer will harvest the day before a trip to market, so your vegetables are often unbelievably fresh.  Vegetables shipped in from California are at least a week old (hence the California salad greens from the grocery store that already look tired and only last a day or two after opening), and vegetables shipped from South America can be in transit for a month or more (like bananas).

How do the vegetables at the grocery store look so good if they are shipped so far?  Well, many vegetables, such as tomatoes, strawberries, bananas are picked under ripe (“green”), shipped long distances and then they are gassed with ethylene which forces an artificial ripening.  That is why grocery store produce can taste so bland: it doesn’t have the flavour to excite your taste buds and inspire cooking ideas.  When harvested unripe, this produce doesn’t have the same high level of nutrients that naturally ripened vegetables do, which keep our bodies and minds healthy.

When you shop from a farmer you build relationships in your community.  You meet other like minded folks when you are at a market, or in local food stores, and you have influence on the way your food is grown or by engaging with farmers, shop owners and friends.

Why Organic?

The term organic describes a model of food production which was first coined by J I Rodale in his publication Organic Gardening and Farming from the 1940’s.  It formed as a way of thinking about farming that works with the soil, animals and natural life building cycles on the farm.  Organic agriculture developed as an ideological reaction in the 1940's and on to the dominant chemical based agriculture that emerged with the big chemical companies after the second world war.  Before the industrialization of food (spraying chemicals for weeds and GMO's) all food was 'organic'.  Sixty or so years later, our society having ignored organic agricultural methods in favour of chemical ones, we are finally as a society recognizing the health and environmental problems chemical sprays has caused.  The book ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson was the first book that brought to light the detrimental effects of the chemical fertilizer/pesticide/herbicide way of farming.  Many, many books have followed and now, finally, I’m happy to say that society is taking a hard look at how our food is produced.

Each local and organic purchase you make does make a real difference in how our food is produced. All sorts of people are buying organic and the food system is producing more organic to respond. Patchwork Gardens has been able to expand and produce more local organic veggies because of your food choices!!

The certification of organic is a way of regulating organic producers so there is a standard by which production models are judged and set apart from chemical agriculture (conventional agriculture).

An organic vegetable is a vegetable grown free from the applications of petroleum based fertilizers or pesticide spays.  It is free from genetic modification (GMO free) .  But not only is organic food ‘free from’, the concept of organic is a systems approach to producing food where the environment, soil, plants, animals and people are all part of the same grand life cycle, where each needs to be nourished as an integral part of the whole. When the life in the soil that feeds our plants is itself well nourished our vegetables and meats have more nutrients available to us!

Local & Organic

Local organic food is the marriage between the most positive qualities of these two dictums.  Finding a local organic grower vegetables are picked ripe and are grown without dangerous chemicals. Many local farmers work the land themselves.  You know the old saying, “there is no better fertilizer for the garden than the farmer’s boots”.  Patchwork Gardens' goes well beyond the minimum standards of organic certification by developing composting and cover crop (green manure) programmes that produce the most nutrient dense, and tastiest vegetables!

What is certified organic?

Oganic Certification is where a third party certifier is highered to inspect and review the organic practices of a farm.  When the farm passes all of the requirements for certification under the Canada organic standards, they become certified organic.  Certified organic farms are not permitted to use synthic fertilizers, or pesticides, or genetically modified seeds (no GMO's).  For a complete list of permitted practices please look up the Canadian Organic Standards, or for more information contact Canadian Organic Growers, or Ecological Farmers Association.

Patchwork Gardens is certified organic with Ecocert Canada.