Local non-profit organization teams up with Woodside Root Cellars to help people maintain access to healthy nutritious food year-round

The Transition movement looks at how energy, the environment, and the economy are interconnected. The movement is global, and Guelph became an official Transition Town in 2009. With a passion for energy conservation and climate change, Transition Guelph and project sponsor Steve Tedesco started a new venture to support the local food economy. With the help of Ian Findlay from Woodside Root Cellars, Transition Guelph launched their root cellar project. Ian is a long-time environmental advocate and possesses the knowledge to support this project. The purpose of the project is to encourage people to build or update root cellars and cold storage rooms in their homes and community centres. These passively cold rooms will help people throughout Guelph and Wellington County store more nutritious food year-round.

With the help of the Seeding Our Food Future project, Transition Guelph was able to launch their project in September 2020 and have since received over 30 expressions of interest for residential rooms and 3 for community centres. Transition and Woodside are planning to build root cellars for Two Rivers Neighbourhood Group and have a few projects in the queue for residential homes. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, they had to postpone the construction of the Two Rivers cellar but it is now underway. The cellars are designed to fit in a pre-existing space in residential homes and can range from 6’x6’ to 8’x25’ depending on individual needs and infrastructure. Transition and Woodside ensure that all units are insulated and have the proper vents to better control temperatures and humidity. They also provide a root cellar owner’s manuals for people who purchase a root cellar through Transition and Woodside. This book includes how to manage a cellar so food is not frozen, how to control mold, humidity, and temperature, and where to store various items to sustain their shelf-life. For those who are interested in root cellars and would like to learn more, Transition Guelph provides a brochure of the benefits to having a root cellar and offers free consultations.

Steve’s idea of circularity is inspired by the concept of sitting in a circle where everyone has a voice, can say what’s on their mind and has agency in their local community. Decisions affecting the community are best made by those with local knowledge of needs and the unique characteristics of the community. He believes you should always leave things better than how you have found them, especially the environment. Steve observes that the conventional food system is not circular and is excited about the Our Food Future movement. Steve is inspired by the diverse array of gardeners, food preservers, and urban homesteaders in Guelph who are passionate about food preservation and cold storage.


Image by Ray Shrewsberry from Pixabay