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Watershed Revitalization Through Organic Farming

Colonization has been key in creating food deserts while simultaneously destroying the land and water due to the elimination of Indigenous knowledge in the world of Western reductionist science. The One Dish Project will provide Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory with fresh produce all year round while revitalizing the soil.


While the language and concept of food sovereignty have only recently been introduced in Indigenous communities, the living reality is not a new one. Indigenous food-related knowledge, values, and wisdom built up over thousands of years provide a basis for identifying the following key principles that guide the present-day food sovereignty movement in Indigenous communities. Indigenous Food Sovereignty includes the principles of Sacred or divine sovereignty, Participatory action, and self-determination.


The policy of Indigenous Food Sovereignty attempts to reconcile Indigenous food and cultural values with colonial laws and policies and mainstream economic activities. Indigenous Food Sovereignty thereby provides a restorative framework for policy reform in forestry, fisheries, range land, environmental conservation, health, agriculture, and rural and community development.


Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory is located beside the Bay of Quinte, the largest watershed in Southern Ontario, with over 18,000 square kilometers, and includes lands drained by the Trent, Moira, and Napanee rivers and a host of smaller tributaries. The Bay of Quinte was identified as one of 43 Great Lakes Basin “Areas of Concern” in 1985. The International Joint Commission recognized that several of the Bay’s beneficial uses were impaired due to industrial, agricultural, municipal, and household practices that had contaminated the water. In addition to posing risks to human health, some of the diversity of plant and animal life had been lost.


Studies show that stream bank naturalization presents the greatest opportunity to restore fish and wildlife habitats in the Salmon River watershed, especially in the southern portion. There are also areas surrounding wetlands in need of naturally vegetated buffers. Therefore, the One Dish Project will remediate the soil with fungal cultures that help greatly in creating clean runoff into the Bay of Quinte and surrounding watersheds.


As of 2016, the population of Tyendinaga is 2500+, and the One Dish Project has been able to donate up to 3000lbs of food to the Community and surrounding residents. With thirteen garden beds successfully up and running, it was an easy decision for the elective council to grant permission to 2-3 acres of space for commercial greenhouses with circle gardens.


Due to the urgency of the planting seasons and success of the project, Andrew and Renee Brant donated an acre of property to the project. This helped the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Chief Administrative Officer make his decision to supply the labor to put the greenhouse up. The greenhouse is now ready for garden boxes and soil, donations are needed.


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