Today is Earth Day, but many Hay Riverites have already found ways to connect with the planet.
For Rosie Wallington, there is nothing so addictive or exciting as watching something grow.
“I started out small, just one tray of seeds, and one morning I woke up and some of them had sprouted, and I was just so excited,” she said last week, in her house amidst all kinds of trays and re-purposed containers full of sprouting vegetables and herbs. “It’s just so great to see things grow.”
Wallington is part of a growing number of avid gardeners in Hay River who choose to get in touch with the earth and themselves through growing their own food and flowers.
“For me, gardening is a cathartic, meditative, soul renewing process,” said Kate Latour. “My only expectation is that there will be dirt under my fingernails. The fresh food is a bonus.”
Beatrice Lepine agreed, saying that while the resulting food is great, it’s not the only reason.
“I garden because I discovered it is good for my health,” she said. “it is good for the soul to be outdoors working in the earth with my hands, and when I nurture a plant or the soil, it nurtures me. And for the tomatoes that don’t taste like cardboard.”
Wallington said that while her mother always gardened and even expanded her passion to massive proportions after moving from a city to the country, she herself only really got started in the past few years.
“Before that, I was living in apartments with roommates and didn’t really have any ownership,” she said.
Now she rents a house with her husband said she enjoys the “nesting” aspect of gardening as much as anything.
“Kevin (her husband) had been researching a lot about food security and I had been thinking a lot about it, where our food comes from, and how expensive it is, and so I guess it’s both the nesting instinct and for the food that just tastes really good.”
But Wallington said planting and harvesting and watching her garden grow has also driven her understanding of environmentalism. Just living in the North has changed her perceptions.
“When I lived in Winnipeg, I considered myself an environmentalist, but I was the kind who would spit on trucks as they went by and was against all hunting,” she said. “Living here has changed that, and it made me realize that hunting can be a very sustainable way to live. Growing my own food has been a part of that as well.”