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All Good Things Start in the Garden!

All good things start in the garden - life is created and nurtured in the garden - and so we too begin in the garden as artists.

The Six Foot Initiative began in the garden in the summer of 2009 with a project called Thrive – A Community Collaboration in the Gardens. Artists Elisha Sidlar and Jessica Wilde Peltier worked with a group of young women to establish a garden and creatively explore their relationship to nourishment. The group included Sabrina Mishibinijima, Courtenay Peltier, Chenya Brissard, Taashiina Brissard, and Nani Bell.

The Thrive project was soon partnered with The Transformation of 83 Wellington – the ongoing transformation of a residential town lot and the unfolding story of human habitation in the village since the arrival of the first Europeans in 1837. The land at 83 is currently producing a great quantity of our seeds and some of our kitchen garden crops for daily use. It is conveniently located near the Creation Centre so that professional and emerging artist alike can begin their explorations in the garden.

In 2010 the Six Foot Festival – Land, Art, and Food was established. The concept behind the name was a challenge for artists to explore and express creatively their relationship to a 6’ x 6’ piece of land over a period of time. The 6’ cube was created as a tool or lens to help focus. We are all in transition, and this requires establishing new relationships with our resources as artists. Like everyone, we have to rethink how we do things and what our responsibilities are. When you live in the heart of the Great Lakes of Canada, you might imagine that natural resources are limitless. And then one day the Ferry service stops running because the water level is too low to dock. The message quickly hits home that we must all do whatever we can to protect and nurture the earth, for the preservation of humanity. And so to make the enormity a possibility, we begin by putting our focus on 6’ x ‘6.

Several years later and you will continue to see references to the 6 foot cube. It continues to be a good starting place, however many of our artists are now applying this new sensibility and knowledge to environmental spaces of all sizes and description.

As the artists and community grow and transition and evolve into new relationships, so too does the Six Foot Festival. It is an endlessly enjoyable and inspiring experience. It mines all that is good about coming together and creating new healthy, vital and creative communities by weaving together our respect for the land and environment, our drive to re-create our world and to tell our story while doing so, and our need and desire to take responsibility for our own food production and consumption. The Six Foot Festival – Land, Art, Food!

2009 - Thrive  
Community Collaborations in the Garden
2010 - The Six Foot Festival - Land, Art, Food
Conversations with the Land

2011 - The Six Foot Festival - Land, Art, Food
Soaking Wet

2012 - The Six Foot Festival - Land, Art, Food
Starting from Seed

2013 - The Six Foot Festival - Land, Art, Food
Out of the Woods

2013 Festival Staff and Contributors

Krista Ashford, Nani Bell, Joahnna Berti, Paul Beduhn, Ron Berti, Samantha Brennan, Gino Cacciotti, Natalie Cacciotti, Rheanne Chartrand, Curtis Corbiere, Dennis Corbiere, Pia Dallmann, Linda Debassige, Carolyn Deforge, Chris Deforge, Justin Deforge, Jenna Ebeny, Bastian Hetzer, Rita Gordon, Terry Gordon, Cathy Grant, Don Grant, Nicole Gruber, Kathie Joseph, Curtis Kagege, Richard Lathwell, Nimkii Lavell,
Cynthia Sage Lickers, Sharlene MacDonald, Ashley Manitowabi, Jason Manitowabi, Sarina Merling, Bruce Naokwegijig, Margret Nestle, David Osawabine, Joe Osawabine, Jamie Oshkabewisens, Josh Peltier, Jessica Wilde Peltier, Dave Pember, Joe Pitawanakwat, Kristy Pitawanakwat, Jordan Racine, Paul Salanki, Jan Schade, Elisha Sidlar, Heather Thoma, Audrey Wemigwans. And anyone we’ve missed in our haste.


Students and teachers from local schools will have a tour of the exhibition and a chance to interact with several live demonstrations. Throughout the lunch time, the staff of our local business have been invited to drop by for some tasty food and warm attention.

Thursday evening is a Knowledge Sharing field trip to visit he stewards and programmers of a local hardwood forest eco-park. The evening will end with a performance of The Global Savages around the fire and under a billion stars at the Dark Sky Sanctuary at Gordon’s Park in Tehkummah.


COMMUNITY HERITAGE MARKET Final Market Day of the Season at the Assiginack Museum in Manitowaning. Don’t miss this last opportunity to pick up some supplies and gifts for the winter. 10am – 1pm. Live music at the Museum Grounds!

HOW TO MAKE TRADITIONAL INDIAN CORN SOUP IN A DAY – WITH YOUR FRIENDS! The Method According to Audge. Recipes are as personal as people, and sometimes, old family recipes can become political weapons. Check in on a traditional process of making Indian Corn Soup throughout the day on Friday. When taste testing begins, simply continue to repeat that it is the best Indian Corn soup you have ever had. I’m just saying.

THE ONGOING SAGA OF A CAKE NAMED DEER. How big will it be? What will it be made of? How many eggs does it take? Will it have real fur? Can we eat the antlers? Will it even work? Should we even try? Will it be worth it? Is it art? These penetrating questions and many more like them will be answered throughout the day by the bakers of the Great Deer Cake. (This may only be a working title at the time of publication. It could easily attain another nickname!)


FOUR MEN AND A BIRCH TREE FUNGUS – KNOWLEDGE SHARING ABOUT CHAGA – You Bring Your Knowledge and we will Share it. Bruce Naokwegijig, Joe Osawabine, David Osawabine, and Ashley Manitowabi are collecting and sharing information about the powerful and important chaga mushroom that grows on Birch trees everywhere. It is both medicinal and practical. If you have had experience harvesting and preparing chaga, please join the conversation and add to the story.

BASIC ROCKET STOVE CONSTRUCTION – QUICK AND EASY LUNCHTIME SOLUTIONS. Hands on instructions on how to make and use a rocket stove with next to nothing. Ashley Manitowabi and David Osawabine cook their lunches this way several times a week. A fun and effective way to become comfortable exploring this simple, fuel saving alternative technology.

GETTING THE HOME FIRES BURNING – FIRE STARTERS FOR THE BUSY HOUSEWIFE. A good starting place for mining as much information as we can from Gino and Natalie Cacciotti about preparing and using wood as fuel on a regular basis. The homestead according to wood.

IF A TREE FALLS AND I’M IN THE FOREST WILL MY SHOULDER PADS PROTECT MY HAIR? – Trying to Go-Green in the 1980’s - Confessions of a Music Video Director. When working with songs like Bruce’ Cockburn’s If a Tree Falls, eco consciousness is self-evident. The content or imagery of a documentary style music video is prescribed by the lyrics. But how do you raise appreciation and respect for the earth in your art, when your art from is Pop music video’s in the 1980’s? Can Platinum Blondes return to their roots?

Intermittently throughout the weekend Darlene Bebonang, Diane Bebonang, Ferdinand Pabomsai, Detlef Heiser, Margret Nestle and Nicole Gruber, will demonstrate their crafts, while other artists will be engaging with the public and sharing their recent explorations. Several of the artists will have samples of their crafts available to purchase, so don’t be afraid to ask! Also throughout the weekend, expect spontaneous workshops on alternative practices, the refreshing rants of new transitioners, and our musical food artists bursting into song as they surprise and delight even themselves with culinary mastery.

THE SIX FOOT FESTIVAL is all about engaging. When we engage with each other, we learn from each other and this, in turn, is cause for celebrating together. When we celebrate, we acknowledge and give thanks for all our gifts – the land, the art, and the food.

Gchi Miigwech to Everyone