For the last year I have been working on an art-science project experimenting with regenerative agriculture at the Maple Hill Urban Farm on Moodie Drive, Ottawa. Last April I applied for and was assigned plot 46, an abandoned 40 X 10 weed-covered allotment in the community garden section of the farm. Plot 46 became my eponymous art-science project.
My project has three goals:
- “Return to the soil” to learn and practice regenerative agriculture.
- Document my progress through art and writing.
- Produce some wonderful fresh food!
Regenerative agriculture is not a short-term undertaking. When I launched the Plot 46 Project, I understood it to be a multi-year commitment. Each year I want to take a different perspective on Plot 46 for my research and art. In year 1 I looked at Plot 46 from the eyes of the gardener. I researched regenerative gardening through the changing seasons and I made a series of traditional landscape prints of my plot, as seen in the Plot 46 Year 1 postcard.
When I started out, I thought regenerative agriculture, or more correctly in my case, no-till gardening, would be easy. I learned many lessons in the year, the main one being that even no-till gardening is really hard work! I have prepared a project manuscript reflecting on my first year, describing my research, hands-on gardening experiences throughout the seasons, the many lessons I learned, and my preliminary plans for the year ahead. I also talk about printmaking and the pastoral landscape series. Click here to read the document.
I am anxious to begin the second year at Plot 46. The rental agreement has been signed and paid for, I have received my seed order, and have many seedlings popping up around the house as I await May 24 – our traditional planting day in Ottawa.