News/Events - September 2014

Improving Production Efficiency in the Seedhouse

DIY Seed Winnower

On Wednesday August 27, fourteen seed savers from across southern Ontario made their way to the Cottage Gardener Heirloom Seedhouse and Nursery to learn some tricks of the trade from expert seed savers, Dan and Mary Brittain. The topic on everyone’s mind: how to clean small seed crops (think onions, brassicas and flowers) faster and for less money than by hand. 

Armed with a few feet of PVC pipe and some lumber, a simple hair dryer and a bit of ingenuity, the Brittains showed everyone just how quickly and easily it can be to get small seed crops clean enough for sale. 

Taking cues from an open source design he found online, Dan has been tweaking his DIY small seed winnower for the last few years. By adding a baffle to control air flow, and a variable speed hair dryer, Dan has increased his cleaning efficiency and significantly lowered his costs of production with this simple (and versatile) piece of equipment. With materials coming in at roughly $60, Dan is confident that seed savers around the province will easily recoup the cost of building this device the first time they put it to use. 

After a thorough demonstration of just how effective the winnower is, the fourteen budding seed savers set to work on assembling units of their very own. With a bit of teamwork, and some guidance from Dan, fourteen winnowers were constructed in about thirty minutes, minutes sure to save the participants hours of painstaking chaff removal down the road. 

And since it was such a gorgeous day, once assembly was complete, the group opted for a guided walking tour of the Brittain’s impressive 12 acre seed saving garden. Lined with established windrows and pollinator havens, the fourteen seed savers were swept away by the possibility that their own gardens might someday be as beautiful, productive and efficient as the Brittain’s. 

We would like to thank the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, without whose generous financial support this informative, hands-on workshop would not have been possible. We would also like to thank Aabir Dey from Everdale/BFICSS, and each of the enthusiastic participants for making the trip to join us for a great day. 

For more photos, please visit our Facebook page.

Hey Farmers, C'mon Out and Mingle!

Farms at Work - New Farmer Mixer

We're Throwing Another Farmer Party!

When: Saturday September 6, 2014  |  Doors @ 8:00pm

Where: The Spill  |  414 George Street N. Peterborough

Cost: $5 / Pay What You Can (to help pay the band)


We had such a great time at the first mixer back in February that we just had to throw another one! Join us for round two as we gather to celebrate community, food, farming and music.

Are you an intern on a farm in the region? Maybe you're studying agriculture at Trent, Fleming or Durham. Or perhaps you've been farming for a number of years and want to help welcome all the fresh-faced new farmers to the area!

Whatever the case may be, put down the garden forks, hop off the tractor, and come on out for an evening of well-deserved music, drinks and dancing!

Farm band, The Sandy Pockets will be on hand to get your hips shakin', and we'll have some delicious local eats from the amazing Night Kitchen. Bring your friends, everyone is welcome!

Feel free to RSVP at the Facebook event page if you're planning on attending. 

For more info, contact jay@farmsatwork.ca  |  (705) 743-7671.