Learn From Home Activity
It should come as no surprise that the present-day agricultural focus of East Gwillimbury can be traced back to the early settlers of the community. Upon arriving in the area, those who received Crown grants for land were required to fulfill a number of obligations to then receive a land patent. These obligations included clearing the land of trees, building a home and cultivating a percentage of their property.
Many male members of the Children of Peace were skilled craftsmen as well as farmers. Ebenezer Doan, who is most often regarded as the Master Builder of the Sharon Temple was also a successful farmer. In 1851 the Doans used twenty-seven of their sixty-eight acres for raising crops. As Sharon Temple's Curator Emeritus W. John McIntyre uncovered, the Doans "[produced] 150 bushels of wheat, eighty of peas, 110 of oats, forty of potatoes, sixty of turnips, and eight tons of hay. They also maintained a garden and orchard of one acre, from which they made seventy-five gallons of cider. On their seventeen acres of pasture, they kept twelve sheep, from which they obtained thirty pounds of wool that produced nine yards of fulled cloth and fourteen yards of flannel. The Doans had three milch cows and used the cream from their milk to churn sixty pounds of butter. They also kept one calf or heifer, three horses, and six pigs, butchering four hundred pounds of beef and one thousand two hundred pounds of pork. That same year, they produced sixty bushels of potash and 196 pounds of maple sugar, which provided an important source of cash for Upper Canadian farmers like themselves" (Children of Peace 1994, 136).
The Children of Peace were also at the forefront of establishing the "Farmer's Storehouse Company", the first producers' co-operative in Canada, which had been managed by Children of Peace member Samuel Hughes. As McIntyre writes, "They allowed free enterprise to operate in the buying and selling of merchandise and foodstuffs, but tempered commerce with concern for community well-being by encouraging members to do business in their own village, warning against over-charging, and jointly transporting their crops to market" (Children of Peace 1994, 139).
The Children of Peace were certainly ahead of their time when instituting a land-sharing program that allowed young farmers and their families to essentially "borrow" land. In 1851 the local co-operative economy, with its concern for charity and the equal prosperity of all, had made the Children of Peace the most prosperous agricultural community in the entire province.
Inspired by the values of social justice and equality held by the Children of Peace, the Sharon Temple National Historic Site and Museum created an accessible garden on our property in 2018. This garden includes pollinator gardens, flowers, herbs, berries, fruits and vegetables. It is through these gardens and the success of our bounty that we have been able to provide weekly donations of fresh fruits and vegetables to the Food Pantry at St. James the Apostle Anglican Church.
We hope you can learn more about our gardens by joining us as a volunteer this summer!
Social Studies - Grade 2: Strand B. People and Environments: Global Communities (B3.6)
Social Studies - Grade 3: Strand A. Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, 1780-1850 (A1.1, A3.3, A3.5, A3.6), Strand B. People and Environments: Living and Working in Ontario (B1.1, B3.5)
Social Studies - Grade 6: Strand A. Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present (A1.1, A1.3, A3.3)
Science and Technology - Grade 1: Understanding Earth and Space Systems: Daily and Seasonal Changes (1.1)
Science and Technology - Grade 3: Understanding Life Systems: Growth and Change in Plants (2.1, 2.3, 3.1, 3.3, 3.5, 3.7, 3.8)
Science and Technology - Grade 4: Understanding Life Systems: Habitats and Communities (1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 3.10)
Science and Technology - Grade 5: Understanding Matter and Energy: Properties of and Changes in Matter (3.5)
Science and Technology - Grade 6: Understanding Life Systems: Biodiversity (1.2, 2.1, 3.1, 3.4)
Farming is a practice that requires lots of patience and dedication as you wait for the first blooms and tend to the fruits of your labour. We encourage you to use environmentally friendly and recyclable materials to try farming at home! Instructions and images adapted from Instructables.com.
Toilet Paper Roll Planters
Toilet Paper Roll(s)
Seeds - your pick!
1. Fold the toilet paper roll into a square: With the roll standing, fold the roll in half one way, then fold it in half the other way, making sure the creases from the last fold line up and you've made a square.
2. Cut the roll in half width wise so you have two parts.
3. On each of the four corners make a cut about 3/4 of an inch long. There should be 4 cuts at the bottom of the roll. Repeat this step on the other roll.
4. Crease and fold your flaps on both of your "pots". This will help your pot sit flat.
5. Ask an adult for help as you fold the flaps to overlap, like you would do on the top of a cardboard box.
6. Once you've made your biodegradable pots, add some potting soil and seeds of your choice. Once complete, add a little bit of water. Follow the directions on your seed packet and wait for your plants to grow!
7. Share a photo of your "garden" with us on social media - tag us at @SharonTempleNHS and use the hashtag #STLearnFromHome!