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Our Story

Groundhog Gardens is a certified organic, biointensive market garden located in Bromont in the beautiful Eastern Townships. Founded in 2020, the Gardens are the life project of David Whiteside, founder and owner.

Our mission is to bring flavour, color, and nutrition to your plate. That’s why we grow fresh, seasonal vegetables using ecological growing methods that respect the land and waters.

Our growing techniques are based on reflection and innovation, with the specific goals of regenerating the soil, stimulating biodiversity and keeping rare and heirloom vegetable cultivars in production.

In 2022, we will be growing no fewer than 50 different vegetables and herbs (as well as lots of flowers!) on 1.5 acres.

At the Gardens, we dream of a truly local and ecological food system that creates empowering employment opportunities and rebuilds relationships between urban and rural populations. 

 

We’re working hard to make that dream a reality!

 

Our Growing Methods

Groundhog Gardens is committed to maintaining a healthy relationship with the land that nourishes us. We grow WITHOUT the use of any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Our production is certified organic by Écocert Canada.

We practice bio-intensive growing methods, which allow us to maximize our crop yield on our small surface area while protecting and regenerating the soil. To learn more about biointensive growing, click here.

Our judicious choice of soil amendments including compost, chicken manure and alfalfa meal, our use of green manures and cover crops, and a strict crop rotation allow us to increase not only our yields, but our soil organic matter and soil life year after year.

We know that successful ecological growing requires not just the ingenuity of the farmer and his workers but the hard work of all the living things on the farm, from the microflora and microfauna that keep our soil productive to the insects that pollinate our crops to the forests around the fields that house countless native species. That’s why we’re constantly learning about how to keep our whole ecosystem happy and healthy. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us and ask about our growing methods at any time.

 

Farmer David

Groundhog Gardens is the life project of David Whiteside, the founder and owner of the farm.

 

After studying Classics at McGill and spending a few years trying to make it as a fine artist, David was looking for a real, sustained contact with the natural world and way to make change in a world that seems to be falling apart.

After a tentative season as a volunteer on a small-scale organic farm, David dove head-first into the farming world. A full-time season at Arlington Gardens in Stanbridge East, another at Les Jardins de la Grelinette à Saint-Armand, then two seasons managing the vegetable production at Abbondana Farm in Mansonville...and he felt ready to start his very own farm, Groundhog Gardens, in 2020. He’s hoping to find his peace and happiness in the Gardens... along with his fair share of hard work.

But he wouldn’t be able to do it without his partner and love of his life, Seif Eddine Hemissi. 

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In the media

We are proud to have been featured several times in local and province-wide media during our very first year of production. 

To learn more about the farm, David, the entrepreneurship award we won, and our choice to rent the land we farm, check out the following radio, newspaper, and magazine features (all in French).

La Voix de l'Est : Histoire d’un maillage agricole harmonieux

La Voix de l'Est : Des lauréats diversifiés au Défi OSEntreprendre de Brome-Missisquoi

Radio-Canada, émission Tout un matin, segment Société avec Isabelle Craig : Le retour à la terre des jeunes agriculteurs

Caribou : L’Arterre, pour un accès plus facile à la terre

 

The land we grow on...

As a farmer, I am actively participating in the very long history of human occupation of the land where the Gardens are located. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by a natural environment rich in biodiversity, though heavily impacted by human activity, in particular intensive conventional agriculture. 

I take my responsibility to preserve and protect the health and wellness of the land seriously. The land does not belong to me, but to the planet itself and the future generations of every species that makes its home here. 

I acknowledge that I am growing food on the traditional and unceded territory of the Abenaki Confederacy. Many Abenaki communities have occupied and continue to occupy the area of land bordered by the Richelieu and St. Lawrence Rivers to the west, the Chaudière and Saint Jean Rivers to the north, and the Atlantic Coast to the south and east. 

To learn more about the Abenaki nations and their history in Québec and New England, check out these websites : 

Native Land (Abenaki)

Musée des Abénakis

caodanak.com/histoire/

The Abenaki in Vermont (VPR)

Groundhog Gardens is also located at the border of two fascinating bioregions, the hardwood forests of the St. Lawrence lowlands and the mixed forests of the Appalachian foothills. You can learn more about the flora and fauna of these two regions on these websites: 

The Canadian Encyclopedia / St. Lawrence Lowland

Nature Conservancy Canada / Appalachian Mixed Forest

Nature Conservancy Canada / The Green Mountains of the North

Finally, Groundhog Gardens is also located in the Yamaska River watershed. I encourage you to learn about the sorry state of the Yamaska River and take action to protect it by clicking here.

 
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