Phil is the Montreal-based mastermind behind the brilliant Bicycle Project and Bicycle Tempo videos. He is also an extraordinary agriculturist. We wanted to see what he could teach us. Here’s his story.
I got into agriculture because I wanted to work and be apart of a solution for a better way of living. I’ve always hated working. Before agriculture, I haven’t kept a job for more than three months. The only thing that mattered to me was snowboarding and trying to do my part for the environment. That’s what inspired the Bicycle Project, an eco-friendly snowboard video where 100% of the travel was done by bicycle. Then I learned of an adult school offering innovative learning spaces for environmentalists called Fierbourg. This is where my agriculture passion grew. Because of this school, I’ve been involved in every facet of a farmer’s life, and I love it. To me, agriculture is the most fundamental job on Earth; it’s the bases of life.
That being said, I’ve learned that there are many problems with modern agriculture. One lesser-known problem is we are currently living in the industrialisation of organic agriculture. The agribusiness giants are producing organic crops the same way they produce conventional crops: huge fields, one or a few cultures, and limited biodiversity. This way of farming has similar negative impacts on society and the environment as growing non-organic crops. I see it taking us away from the ideology that gave birth to organic farming. That is, local agriculture, on a human scale, conveying social values. I believe it is important to raise an army of small local farmers. But it means we’ll have to be okay with paying a little more for local goods and/or learning how to grow our own food. Doing this will build a sense of environmental responsibility.
Want to start growing your own food? Here’s an easy way to start.
1. Find yourself a piece of land, no matter how big it is. Preferably with a minimum of six hours of sun exposure. Take a shovel and flip the grass, working the soil as best you can. If you’re not equipped to make it perfect, add some new soil. Add about 1-2 cm of compost before planting a new culture and between each culture rotation. Throughout the season, if your plants seem to be growing slowly, add some Acti-sol organic fertilizer.
2. Choose vegetables that fit the amount of time and effort you’re prepared to put into your garden. The easiest and most popular veggies are potatoes, winter squash, summer squash, garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes, and other root vegetables.
3. You can buy seeds from your local producer, or you can buy transplants (except root vegetables. Don’t transplant those.) Follow the instructions on the seed pack, it tells you how to plant your vegetables and when to harvest. For the transplants, pull them out of their cells and plant them so the top little square of soil is flush with the garden soil. Remember roots don’t like to be exposed to the air. Once your transplant is in, press the transplant’s soil with the garden soil to weld them together.
4. Water your plants at least once a day. If you can't, try to install a drip irrigation system as it uses less water.
5. Harvest your wonderful little babies and enjoy their deliciousness.
Hit me up on Instagram if you have any agriculture questions @trifirooo. Happy harvesting. — Philippe Trifiro-Riendeau