Closing Toronto Garden Gates to Open Sea-breezy Windows

This spring (2015), we (Sage Rising’s family, Caitlin and Guy Doucette) will be immersed in thawing ocean bays, bird-filled hemlock groves, and new connections of all sorts in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. We are here to keep journeying towards the life of our dreams – a life where nature is at our doorstep, where we are part of a vibrant community, and where we can begin to grow sustainable roots. This new transition required the difficult decision to close Sage Rising’s garden gates in Toronto. Many, many thanks to all the wonderful people who helped Sage Rising thrive!

If you’re looking for Toronto ecological farm and garden connections, please check out these amazing folks: Canopy Educational Gardens, Sweet Gale Gardens, Red Pocket Farm, Fresh City Farms, Everdale, FoodShare, and FarmStart.

Stay tuned for our next venture, launching in March 2017. If you have questions about Sage Rising’s past work in Toronto, please feel encouraged to drop me a line at sagerisingherbs@gmail.com.

Mahone Bay, Road Trips, Lunenburg, Beaches, Flash & Shadows 030

With Gratitude, Caitlin Doucette

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hibernating for the Winter

Please note that Sage Rising will be closed from Dec. 1 2014 – Apr. 1 2015. Email and social media communication will be limited during this time.

Curious about what we’re up to this Winter, check out our most recent blog post, below. Stay warm!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ebb, Flow, Trust, & Grow

FOT90ED(1)

Flowing tides at sunset, Beach Meadows, Nova Scotia.

After three seasons of growing and learning in Toronto, Sage Rising is on the move. We’re temporarily closing our doors  in order to open up sunny windows for professional growth, personal fulfillment, and adventure beyond the city limits. This next phase for Sage Rising is a little r&d into our prefered habitat, with winter in Peterborough  and summer in South Shore Nova Scotia. It’s an adventure that will require creativity, flexibility, risk, and most importantly trust. Trust that ebb will be followed by flow, that change leads to growth, and that the universe will always provide. Trust that Sage Rising will find a way.

FOTE097

Long afternoon shadows on the Doucette’s farm, Ennismore (Peterborough), Ontario.

Looking back on the journey so far, I feel immense gratitude for every being that helped Sage Rising thrive – from the people who inspired right down to the worms who tilled the soil. I am speechless thinking of all the energy, inspiration, and love that Torontonians gave to nurture my business. Thank you to the homeowners who shared your land, to the volunteers who shared your labour, to the consumers who purchased our products, and to the collaborators who shared our passion.

Huge bear hugs go out to all the folks at Fresh City Farms for helping to get us started, to Jessica Barnes for nurturing the seed  into a healthy seedling, to Amelia Croll and family for sharing your yard and my love of herbs, to Kelsey Patton for giving us your summer Mondays, and to Guy Doucette for nurturing the land with me over cups of coffee and fresh morning breezes every step of the way.

Most importantly, thank you to the land for all that you have yielded. With deep respect, we seek to leave you fertile, healthy, and diverse. May the soil we have helped to build and the plants we have nurtured rest deeply until rediscovered, with gratitude, by another backyard gardener.

My neighbour recently gave me an increadibly inspiring book called Farm City (2009) by Novella Carpenter, an urban farmer in Oakland, California. Her words resonate with this moment for Sage Rising, and for urban farming in Toronto:

Although my holding was small-and temporary-I had come to realize that urban farming wasn’t about one farm, just as one beehive isn’t about an individual bee…Urban farms have to be added together in order to make a farm. So when I say that I’m an urban “farmer,” I’m depending on other urban farmers, too. It’s only with them that our backyards and squatted gardens add up to something significant. And if one of ours goes down, another will spring up. (pg 269)

I beleive in you Toronto! Keep growing!

~ Caitlin Doucette (nee Langlois Greenham), Farmer-Owner

 

cait lucy

Caitlin with Lucy, her family’s dog, planting next year’s garlic, Port Medway, Nova Scotia.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Caitlin’s Professional Journey in Alternatives Journal

Sage Rising’s owner, Caitlin Langlois Greenham, was recently featured in Alternatives Journal’s education issue. Read about Caitlin’s journey in:

The Genius of Generalists: why environmental studies is essential to the workforce we need now

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sage Rising in Edible Toronto

This Summer’s Edible Toronto Magazine includes a feature on Sage Rising. It’s our first two-page spread, and it’s a fantastic article! Many thanks to author (chef, consultant, and photographer) Lisa Kates for sharing Sage Rising’s story.

Read Edible Toronto’s feature on Sage Rising

Caitlin Langlois Greenham_SageRisingPhoto by Lisa Kates

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Old to New: Re-Purposing to help you in your garden designs and practical needs

Plants have the amazing ability to utilize what is around them and make the very best of it that they can to grow and thrive. So when it comes to designing and creating pieces to augment your garden, sometimes all you have to do is look no further then what is immediately around you.

Take our front gardens and walkway for example. These beds were created just two years ago and now are thriving, producing edible flowers, greens and herbs it also a beautiful addition for passers-by to look at. The edging was created using old bricks that used to line a path in the back garden. The path used valuable sunny growing space and did not provide the easiest access to the garden. We reused the bricks and helped to shape the design of two beds at once.

     ImageImage

Another common need in gardens is trellises. Using scrap wood and old throw away IKEA furniture we crafted these trellises for peas and beans to climb. I used twine and cat’s cradled the design, many things can be practical and also artistic at the same time.

 

Image                  Image

Here again is re-purposed IKEA furniture used to create a large planter box for our balcony garden. The old fan trellis was one of several that I discovered at the curb before garbage day. They were a little rough, but with a few strands of wire and a couple of well-placed nails – the Trellises rise again!

  ImageImage

You can get creative with what is around you in all kinds of ways. Looking to what is at hand first can often save time and money and provide a great way to re-purpose old things, create practical and artistic contributions to your garden and add a unique flair to your space. In this last shot, Caitlin needed to lose the trailer for her bike, yet still be able to transport just as much stuff. Using wire, milk crates, and two bungees – we created a stack-able and removable transport system. Good for our farm deliveries, picking up groceries or odds and ends, or heading out for a day trip and picnic.

Image

Have you been getting creative using re-purposed things? If so, send us a pic!

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go look down my street – it’s garbage/treasure day! And you never know what I might have to build next…

Be creative, keep growing,

~ Guy Doucette

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

And Just Like That, our Gardens are Back in Action!

Sage Rising’s gardens are back in action for Spring, thanks to all the amazing volunteers who joined us for our first volunteer day of the season on Saturday, May 10th.  Friends new and old came out to our Crawford St. backyard gardens to prepare the beds for Spring, plant cold-hardy crops, and even build a spontaneous bean trellis! It was a wonderful whirlwind to have so many hands in the garden, and at the end of the day I looked around in exhausted amazement- marveling at everything we did together.

Guy & BedfordLaurel

This is my favourite time of year, when the energy of Spring uplifts and energizes – both people and the world around us. Every day I see something new in the garden. Creatures garlic and bikeabound – bumblebees, ladybugs, birds, worms, squirrels, and even racoons frequent our gardens. Perennials sprout everywhere- feathery yarrow, feisty bergamot, tentative lavender, graceful chives, golden feverfew, loud and proud mint. I swear the garlic grows bigger every time I look at it. With all the rain, many of our seeds are already sprouting – chervil, parsley, cilantro, kale, lettuce, arugula, mustard, and peas. All this against a backdrop of maple blossoms, tulips, violets, strawberry flowers, and fresh Spring air. Blissful siiiiggghhh….

For me, last Saturday’s highlight was sitting in the sun at the end of the day, noticing everyone who lingered, having conversations and making connections. Gardens have a powerful way of bringing us together with one another and with nature – we’re cooperating with each other and participating in nature when we grow food. We all left last Saturday with Spring gifts- fresh oregano, garlic mustard, feverfew, and chives.

me with chiveAs a farmer, I love nothing more than to share the food I grow. As I enjoyed my chives, I thought of all the friends out there who shared the harvest. What more could I ask for?

Happy Spring, Caitlin

Sage Rising hosts monthly-ish volunteer days. We hope you’ll join us this June!

Stay up-to-date: Visit Volunteer Events & Workshops, follow @SageRisingHerbs on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, or join our mailing list at sagerisingherbs@gmail.com.

 

Photo credits for first three photos: Robin Grant, Multi-media Journalist, robin.grant35@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poised at the Edge of Spring

seedlings late march 2014 2

Basil seedlings!

Being a gardener and farmer is good medicine for winter blues. When I am fed up with the cold and grey days, I peek at my indoor garden full of hopeful seedlings, and I remember that Sage Rising was born on just such a grey day. In the deep reaches of February 2012, Jessica Lemieux and I dreamed of the warm, aromatic summer breezes of an herb farm. It was a winter dream, which turned into a perennial journey that has deepened my relationships with the land, with herbs, and with people who are passionate about creating sustainable, community-based food systems. Sage Rising, once a tiny dream-seed, has grown into a thriving evergreen, reaching towards the sun and keeping the dream of spring alive all winter long!
As I wait for the ground to thaw so I can plant the seeds for Sage Rising’s third season, I feel as if I am sitting at the edge of a new stage for the farm.

savory clg march 2014

Winter savory at snow’s edge.

I will miss working with Jess, who dedicated immense time and heart to Sage Rising and who gave me the gift of spending time with baby Finn in our gardens. Yet I am mindful as well that in nature, edges are fertile and diverse places. This edge I am at is an opportunity for growth. Stepping forward to take the helm will allow me to make Sage Rising more sustainable by adapting it to flow with the other aspects of my life.

It’s a hopeful and powerful moment to grow food in Toronto, and I’m so excited that Sage Rising is a part of it! Urban farming and community gardening networks are growing every day at an amazing pace. Urban growers are meeting through knowledge-sharing groups, farm incubator projects, and advocacy organizations – groups like Toronto Urban Growers, Food Forward, Afri-Can Food Basket, Fresh City Farms, Toronto Farmers, Everdale, FarmStart, FoodShare, Toronto Food Policy Council, and Toronto Youth Food Policy Council. Farmers and gardeners are organizing collectively, supporting every step of the development of the Toronto Urban Agriculture Program, which was adopted by City Council last November (yay!).

At the edge of spring, I am energized by the opportunities for growth, connection, and adaptation that are emerging. I am looking forward to working close to home with volunteers and yard-sharing neighbours to once again offer organically grown fresh herbs and handmade herbal body products produced in Sage Rising’s backyard-based urban gardens (learn more about Sage Rising’s herbs and herbal products here). I am also excited to be working with partners to develop participatory workshops on growing and using herbs, urban farming, and permaculture (more on that soon!). Moreover, I am inspired by the growth of urban farming and community food movements and I look forward to where the journey takes us next!

farmer clg march 20143

Self portrait, looking down on my backyard from the balcony.

 ~ Caitlin

You can contact me (Caitlin) at sagerisingherbs@gmail.com to join Sage Rising’s volunteer mailing list or just to say hello.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sage Rising will be open for Spring on April 1st, 2014

We look forward to connecting with you in Spring!

crawford love garden mar 14 2014 1 - Copy

Crawford Love Garden waiting patiently under the snow for Spring to arrive.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Sage Rising 2012 Crawford Love FarmFall and Winter are times to pause, look inward, reflect, and dream.  This is true for gardeners as it is for most of us who seek to live in tune with nature and the seasons. That sharp crisp touch of Fall air on our cheeks, leaves gracefully blowing off trees and into the garden, plants tucking themselves into bed as they gather energy in their roots, and squirrels hurriedly burying their bounty for winter meals.  All of these moments give me pause to accept and celebrate the passing season for the gift that it was- bountiful, challenging, unexpected, and beautiful – and to dream of renewing the cycle of growth, creativity, and partnership with nature next Spring.

Looking back, I am overjoyed with how far Sage Rising has come! This year, we’ve established three backyard micro-farms, expanded our purchasing relationship with Fresh City Farms, created a volunteer program, and explored co-marketing with City Seed Farms at Junction Farmers’ Market. Community integration was one of our key priorities in 2013.  Fnding land, purchasers, collaborators, and volunteers close to home helps us run our business sustainably and efficiently in collaboration with urban farming allies and community members.

Building on this year’s journey, Sage Rising will continue to grow our community-integrated model in 2013. Many thanks to all of the collaborators, volunteers, homeowners, and customers who made this season the amazing ride that it has been. We couldn’t have done it without you!

What’s to come for Sage Rising in 2014 you ask?

Here’s a sneak preview:

– We’ll be brewing up new and improved recipes for lotions, soaps, and lip balms for our 2014 collection. Smells gooooood!

– Sage Rising’s Herb of the Week will be available at Fresh City Farms‘ food box delivery program for the third year running. Yum!

– 2014’s fresh herb selection will include some of our top sellers including sweet and purple basil, thyme mix, lemon balm, Greek oregano, camomile, dill, and nasturtium.

– Plans for new partnerships with wholesale purchasers and farmers’ market collaboration for next year are in the works. More to come!

– After two years of tireless and passionate work, Jess will be stepping back from the business to focus on being a Mom, writing, and lots more.  We’ll keep you posted on Jess’s activities.  I [Caitlin] will be taking the helm for 2014 with the help of our amazing volunteers!

…you’ll have to wait until Spring to find our the rest…

That said, Sage Rising will be closed for the season starting November 16th 2013. We will re-open April 1st, 2014.

Wishing you a cozy and reflective winter from Sage Rising!

Warmly, Caitlin

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments