Hedgelaying in the Ontario Landscape (HOL)
In 2013 a team from the University of Waterloo, (headed up by Professors Stephen Quilley, Dan McCarthy and Stephen Murphy, with PhD Candidate Perin Ruttonsha), together with partners in southern Ontario and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, began working together to examine landscape planning and management practices within the Greater Golden Horseshoe, using hedgerows and hedgelaying, with reference to broader themes including place-making, collective stewardship, agro-ecology and resilience. Three pilot plantings at Mount Wolfe Farm, Albion Hills Community Farm, and a private property in Inglewood were undertaken.
In 2018-19 the project continues, to explore the uses of hedgerows, hedgelaying and rural skills in scoio-ecological contexts. Jim Jones, Visiting Scientist at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience and an ecologist, hedgelayer and green woodworker from the UK, is working with the project offering advice and delivering workshops on hedgerows, hedgelaying and other traditional rural skills and acting us a 'curator' of this new space.
Town of Caledon
Neil Morris (Ecologist)
Niagara Escarpment Comission
More recent project partners include Credit Valley Conservation
Experimental Hedge Planting
The HOL project is developing more experimental hedgerow plantings in a variety of locations and contexts through-out the Ontario Landscape to emphasise the suite of services provided by these features.
Hedgerows in Peri-Urban Landscape Management
The project team is conducting a policy review exploring the use of hedgerows in the management of peri-urban landscapes and near-urban agriculture.
Ontario Rural Skills Network (ORSN)
The HOL project is building on the hedgelaying demonstrations undertaken in 2016 by developing a series of small craft-scale, traditional woodland management and production activities as revenue streams in terms of both products and training/leisure services. These will include greenwood work/bodging, basket making, scything, coppicing, pollarding, bow making, and artisan charcoal making.
As well as revenue streams in their own right for small CSA- type enterprises, such activities are important for any transitional development of a more active culture of landscape management and a portfolio of countryside activities which integrate higher value-added local food production with craft product, leisure, recreation and education.
The project is seeking funding to scale out the ORSN initiative to other CSA-type farms in the Ontario Landscape.
Storytelling and the Rural Commons
Common land or community-owned space is rare in Ontario but offers opportunities for environmental stewardship, building co-operative governance structures, developing place-based identities through shared storytelling. The HOL project is developing a case study based at Mount Wolfe Farm combining hedgerows, storytelling and traditional celebrations of the agricultural year.