Our Root Cellar

The Seasoned Spoon Field to Cellar to Table Food Storage Initiative

Why a root cellar?

The Seasoned Spoon Café provides students, staff and community members with ethically produced foods, as well as academic opportunities to engage in environmental and food issues.  This matters, because much of our local food infrastructure - including storage - has been dismantled over recent generations. Although there has been some resurgence of interest in ecological growing, food storage remains something of a lost art. 

Sustainable eating and living depends on year-round access to locally grown food.  Student-research and dialogue with local farmers have shown that a major barrier to that availability is simply a lack of storage capacity.  Root cellars are an almost forgotten, traditional technology that uses the ambient heat below ground to store food in northern climates through the winter months. The Spoon's root cellar project goes some way toward reconnecting growers and eaters and thus is one way to address some of the social and environmental issues within our food system.

The Seasoned Spoon Root Cellar:

1. Provides space to properly store local produce

2. Strengthens the sustainability of the Spoon

3. Supports small‐scale producers by enabling the Seasoned Spoon to purchase larger quantities of seasonal produce at harvest time.

4. Helps revitalize the regional agricultural system

5. Reduces waste and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the long distance transport of produce

6. Acts as an educational demonstration site introducing students and community members to ecological building practices and traditional food storage method

About the Root Cellar

To build the root cellar, we teamed up with the good folks at the Endeavour Centre for Innovative Learning, Building and Living, a not‐for‐profit sustainable building learning centre based in Peterborough, Ontario.

Measuring 16’x20’, the root cellar features two storage areas, suitable for vegetables with different storage requirements.  It's dug into a small hill near the loading dock of Champlain College, and incorporates a range of innovative, sustainable building methods including earth‐bag walls and a green roof. Earth-bag building is a form of rammed earth-construction that uses woven bags as a flexible form and barbed wire to act as a mortar.   The bags are filled with earth, compacted, stacked and finally plastered, creating cement like walls with minimal environmental impact. The green roof provides the most ecologically‐sound means of insulation, and the opportunity to showcase native plants.  Powered by solar panels to maintain ideal storage conditions, the root cellar is totally off the grid and is located just steps away from the cafe kitchen!

To arrange a tour of our fabulous root cellar, or for more information contact us at seasonedspoon@trentu.ca.

Special thanks to our sponsors and all of those who volunteered their time, energy, and resources! 

Tim Krahn; Lutes Cedar, Rona, Terrafix, Buckhorn Sand and Gravel, Doughty Aggregates, Flanagan and Sun; the City of Peterborough, Peterborough GreenUp Ecology Park, Green Side Up Landscaping, Home Depot

Check out Chris Magwood's post about the Seasoned Spoon Root Cellar here