Friday, August 06, 2010

Newfoundland's Crown Land

I was fascinated by the small gardens that we saw along the roads in northern Newfoundland. These gardens were not next to someone's house our field, rather they were right next to the road. When I asked local people, it turns out that the best soil for gardens is where soil was brought in to build the roads. This land is "crown land," land owned by federal or provincial governments. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia only 11% of Canada's land is in private hands, 41% is federal crown land and 48% is provincial crown land. Newfoundland has the highest percentage of crown land with 95% being owned by the government. Among the permitted uses in northern Newfoundland are these gardens that provide needed produce during the short growing season.

Picturesque and well kept, the primary crop seems to be potatoes, but some of the larger plots had a mix of garden vegetables. In a place where it is not easy to get fresh produce, these gardens are an important part of the food supply here.

There also seems to be a certain amount of wood gathering permitted.

I suspect that it takes a lot of hard work to live in northern Newfoundland, but I really appreciate a lifestyle that manages to find ways to live off the land using the resources available-fish, wood, native berries, and these lovely gardens.

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