Site visit for our neighbours from Parkdale Food Centre. We love to share what the Root Cellar can do to support a local sustainable food system!
We are grateful to have received a donation from our local FCC Farm Credit Canada branch through their Community Investment program. Thank you Brent Clark, Farm Credit Canada's VP Credit Risk. VISIT FCC HERE
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In August, we were thrilled to assist JCB Gourmet Mushrooms in Kinburn with storing their mushroom spores while they upgraded their facility. We estimate that 100 pounds of fresh mushrooms were saved!
Volunteer needs: February 18, 2021
Deep Roots Food Hub’s 2020 progress
Prepared by Phil Reilly
Much has been accomplished in 2020 by Deep Roots Food Hub members at the unique Davidson’s Side Road root vegetable storage cellar (near Shirley’s Bay).
Thanks to over 3000 hours of volunteer labor, contributed by about 18 members of Deep Roots Food Hub (DRFH), the root cellar is structurally completed. A few local farmers are currently using the root cellar for storing about 4500 pounds of carrots, potatoes, rutabagas, beets, Daikon radishes, and other vegetables for distribution to their CSA customers. We are pleased to have BeetBox Farm, Our Farm CSA, Heartbeet Farm, ExerFarm, Gaia Organic Seeds, and 100 Mile Wine Inc. using the root cellar.
The various vegetables are being stored in a variety of containers (boxes, totes, or burlap bags appropriate to the vegetable), and stacked in their containers, or placed on provided shelving, such that they have ready access to their produce for distribution to their clients.
This root cellar is not of the historic hole-in-a-hill or home basement variety (see photos). It is a super-insulated, above-ground, metal Quonset building which is 24 feet wide X 40 feet long. Three 100watt solar panels, which charge four 12-volt truck batteries, provide the electrical power needs of the root cellar.
The humid and just-above freezing (+ 2 to +4 degrees C.) conditions of the storage chamber are regulated by monitoring sensors and fans. The plywood floor of the vegetable storage chamber has 2” of Styrofoam sheets on its underside and sits on 8” concrete building blocks. This is designed to isolate the building’s warm gravel base, which continuously radiates heat upwards from the earth’s core’s, from the stored vegetables which require constantly cool temperatures. Also, this raised floor allows fans to circulate always-available heat into the storage chamber during very cold periods. Cold air can also be brought directly into the produce chamber at night when daytime temperatures are warmish.
Deep Roots Food Hub is pleased to acknowledge significant recent funding contributions resulting from ‘in memorium’ donations from family and friends of Kinburn-area’s Brent Schwieg. Also, we are thankful for the donation, by Big Steel Box, of a 20’ foot shipping container for storage of various materials used throughout the year. In the past, DRFH has received significant grants from the Ottawa Community Foundation, the Greenbelt Fund, and the City of Ottawa.
In the coming months the Deep Roots Food Hub’s board of directors will be looking to recruit people with a variety of practical skills. Postings for volunteers will appear on our web site as needs arise.
We believe that this community project, when scaled up to full capacity, will improve food security and the health of many of our local community members.
The accompanying YouTube video was presented to the Canadian Association for the Club of Rome on Nov. 25, 2020. It covers the history of Deep Roots Food Hub, the building process of the root cellar, the operational success of the first year of operation, and some of the glitches that have had to be overcome.