News/Events - April 2013

Great Turnout for Grafting Workshop in Millbrook

Recently, Farms at Work and Circle Organic Community Farm teamed up to host an informative and hands-on workshop in fruit production and grafting techniques with guest speaker, Ken Taylor (Green Barn Nursery). Over 70 people attended the event, which was held just outside of Millbrook.

A specialist in plant genetics and cold-hardy varieties of fruits and nuts, Ken Taylor led the group in a lengthy and informative discussion on how farmers and hobbyists across the country can and are working to preserve Canada’s important fruit heritage. Armed with several alarming statistics that outline the growing shortages of locally (ie Canadian) grown fruit crops, Ken’s talk certainly inspired the group to investigate the possibility of increasing local fruit and nut production across east central Ontario. In fact, folks were so eager and motivated, it was all Ken could do to keep the lecture on track for all the questions that were fired at him.

After a lovely lunch prepared by the church’s volunteers, the group settled in around worktables to try their hands at bench grafting. With varieties of apples and pears, and several types of scion wood to choose from, we were shown the (sometimes) finicky techniques involved in grafting. By the end of the afternoon, everyone had their own newly grafted to tree (and all their fingers!) to take home and plant. With any luck, there will be at least 50 new trees producing fruit across the region in 3 or 4 years!

To Round out the day, Ken led the group in a boisterous plant auction of Green Barn R&D stock. Despite his (and volunteer Andy Harjula’s) best efforts, the room quickly went from orderly grafting workshop to riotous auction house, folks were so eager to get their hands on Green Barn materials that aren’t yet widely available. Despite the bit of calamity though, most folks left the auction floor with material to plant at home, and a newfound excitement for the fruit growing possibilities in our region.

Another exciting outcome of the workshop was the creation of an East Central Ontario Fruit Producer Network, which is currently being put together by Farms at Work. The consensus at the end of the workshop was that growers across the region were looking for ways exchange knowledge, production techniques and breeding stock among one another. If this is something you are interested in being a part of, please contact Jay Adam ( for all the details.

Thanks to everyone involved for helping to get this great workshop off the ground. Stay tuned  to our website and Facebook page for updates on more exciting and informative events coming to the region soon!