Students will investigate how settlers grew, harvested and preserved foods in different seasons compared to today by completing a web-based activity and creating diary entries from the perspective of a Canadian settler.

Class Discussion: Trends in Food Preservation
Ask students the following questions and have them record tallies on chalkboard and in notebooks:
Who has a refrigerator at home? Who has more than one?
Who has a freezer or large deep freezer?
Who has helped in your family or community vegetable garden including urban gardens on balconies and rooftops?
Who has helped preserve vegetables or fruits? Which ones: preserves, pickles, salsa, jams, spaghetti sauce?
Who has helped preserve meat or have family members that do so? Which methods: smoking fish, canning meat, making sausages?
Who eats canned or bottled foods?
Who eats foods containing preservatives?
Discuss the fact that food preservation is as important today as it was in early Canada. Today we will investigate how this was accomplished in settlement times, and how much or how little preservation methods have changed.

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Students will investigate how settlers grew, harvested and preserved foods in different seasons compared to today by completing a web-based activity and creating diary entries from the perspective of a Canadian settler.

Class Discussion: Trends in Food Preservation
Ask students the following questions and have them record tallies on chalkboard and in notebooks:
Who has a refrigerator at home? Who has more than one?
Who has a freezer or large deep freezer?
Who has helped in your family or community vegetable garden including urban gardens on balconies and rooftops?
Who has helped preserve vegetables or fruits? Which ones: preserves, pickles, salsa, jams, spaghetti sauce?
Who has helped preserve meat or have family members that do so? Which methods: smoking fish, canning meat, making sausages?
Who eats canned or bottled foods?
Who eats foods containing preservatives?
Discuss the fact that food preservation is as important today as it was in early Canada. Today we will investigate how this was accomplished in settlement times, and how much or how little preservation methods have changed.

Online Activity: Gifts of the Land Interactive Quiz
Students go online to complete an interactive quiz based on food preservation methods. They will take notes for the activity below.

Creative Writing Activity: Settlement Life in the Four Seasons
Students are asked to write four diary entries - one for each season of the year, from the perspective of an early Canadian settler - that relate to growing, harvesting, preserving and storing food. Students will use the information they gathered from the Gifts of the Land quiz, and other resources, including the various assets in this Learning Object collection.


© 2007, Davenport Centre - Heritage Hall. All Rights Reserved.

Name: ____________________________

Step 1: CHOOSE A SETTLER PERSONA
Decide who you want to be: a father, mother, girl or boy. Give your pioneer an age and a name based on typical European settler heritage (Scottish, English or Irish, Polish, German).

Step 2: RESEARCH FARM LIFE IN EARLY CANADA
Read these lists of seasonal farm tasks in early Canada.

Spring
- plow and plant gardens and crops
- use remaining food stores from root cellar
- cut ice from lake, place in ice house and pack with sawdust
- build/repair barns and outbuildings
- shear sheep
- make maple syrup

Summer
- tend crops, livestock and gardens
- guard crops from animal and bird pests
- expand farm acreage by removing trees, stumps and stones
- build/repair fences
- pick fruits and vegetables as they ripen
- harvest summer crops

Autumn
- cut firewood for next winter
- harvest fall crops, fruits and vegetables
- thresh autumn harvest
- preserve foods (drying, pickling, canning, smoking, Read More

Name: ____________________________

Step 1: CHOOSE A SETTLER PERSONA
Decide who you want to be: a father, mother, girl or boy. Give your pioneer an age and a name based on typical European settler heritage (Scottish, English or Irish, Polish, German).

Step 2: RESEARCH FARM LIFE IN EARLY CANADA
Read these lists of seasonal farm tasks in early Canada.

Spring
- plow and plant gardens and crops
- use remaining food stores from root cellar
- cut ice from lake, place in ice house and pack with sawdust
- build/repair barns and outbuildings
- shear sheep
- make maple syrup

Summer
- tend crops, livestock and gardens
- guard crops from animal and bird pests
- expand farm acreage by removing trees, stumps and stones
- build/repair fences
- pick fruits and vegetables as they ripen
- harvest summer crops

Autumn
- cut firewood for next winter
- harvest fall crops, fruits and vegetables
- thresh autumn harvest
- preserve foods (drying, pickling, canning, smoking, salting)
- prepare fields for next spring
- repair fences and buildings
- tend and slaughter domestic animals
- hunt wild game

Winter
- plan upcoming growing season
- use preserved foods
- keeping an eye on food supplies
- make and mend clothes; spin yarn
- repair farm tools
- cut trees
- transport grains to mill for flour

Browse the Internet for other resources, including (English only):
http://www.projects.yrdsb.edu.on.ca/pioneer/pioneer_home.htm
http://www.uppercanadavillage.com/lifevil.htm
http://www.lib.ndsu.nodak.edu/ndirs/exhibitions/pioneer/camera/default.htm

Step 3: COMPLETE INTERACTIVE QUIZ
Go online and complete the interactive quiz: Gifts of the Land. Take notes on items that relate to settler life during the four seasons. Print out your quiz score results for your teacher.

Step 4: CREATE DIARY ENTRIES
Write four diary entries from the perspective of your persona, one for each season, focusing on food and food-related tasks. Each entry should be at least 200 words. Date each entry by day, month and year, and describe the weather.

Hints
- Describe the tasks you completed on that particular day. Also write about what was accomplished in previous days, and what you plan to do in the near future.
- Incorporate livestock, crops, gardening, hunting, fishing and the gathering of wild foods where appropriate.
- Write about the types of food you were eating at that time of year.
- In one of your entries, describe how the family coped with a food disaster resulting from natural causes such as fire, crop/livestock disease or weather (drought, flood, frost, high winds).
- Focus on food but do not forget to include a few bits of information about the personal aspects of life such as going to church, visiting or hosting visitors, special events, gifts, games, illness, changes to nearby farms or communities, news from friends and relatives.


© 2007, Davenport Centre - Heritage Hall. All Rights Reserved.

Students will investigate how settlers grew, harvested and preserved foods in different seasons compared to today.

The production and preservation of food is critical in any era. In this activity, you will discover how early settlers in Eastern Ontario grew, raised and preserved food in contrast to modern methods.

The production and preservation of food is critical in any era. In this activity, you will discover how early settlers in Eastern Ontario grew, raised and preserved food in contrast to modern methods.

1
Settlers had to convert forests to fields and then grow crops. Which of the following steps DO NOT belong in this process?
a) burn forest
b) cut down trees
c) clear logs, stumps and stones
d) plow earth
e) plant seeds
----
A: a)
Forest fires were too dangerous to be set intentionally. Clearing, cultivating and planting were done by settlers and their animals. Fields were protected from predatory animals and birds using scarecrows, dogs, cats and fences. Gardens were planted close to the house for security and convenience.
Photo: pitchfork and scythe

2
The settlement diet consisted of many preserved foods. Preserved food was and still is important because it:
a) tastes better
b) is nutritious
c) is available year-round
d) reduces waste
e) all of above
----
A: d
Today, as yesterday, if crops and the meat of slaughtered livestock are not properly preserved and stored, they spoil. Some foods are not available year round, but we can still eat them in preserved forms although sometimes nutrients and flavour are reduced in processing.

3
Based on preservation techniques used by settlers, which of the following statements are correct?
a) produce was canned, dried & pickled
b) meat & fish were smoked & canned
c) wheat was ground into flour
d) corn & oats were ground into meal
e) all of above
----
A: e
All these methods were used to get a settlement family through winter because money and grocery stores were scarce. Today, many more foods are available in every season due to the use of greenhouses and the ability to transport food economically over long distances. These fresh foods from afar are preserved using methods such as picking before ripeness, using gases and waxes to prevent contact with the air, and genetic selection.

4
Even though money was scarce for settlers, it was used to purchase a few important food-related items. Which did they NOT need to buy?
a) coffee, black tea, sugar, salt
b) garden seeds
c) fertilizer
d) preserving jars, garden tools
e) all of above
----
A: c
Settlement farms had a ready supply of animal manure to fertilize crops. All the other items are essential to the raising and preservation of food. It should be noted that some seeds were harvested, dried and saved for planting the following year. Coffee and black tea could not be grown in Canada.

5
Most settlement farms had a root cellar or root house. It was used to store:
a) homemade wine
b) ice blocks
c) root vegetables
d) tree roots for burning
e) all of above
----
A: c
A root cellar is a wood-framed storage space dug into the earth where root vegetables (potatoes, turnip, carrots) and other food was kept cool and safe from animals. Similarly, an icehouse was a small building for storing large blocks of ice sawn from a lake in winter and insulated with sawdust. Pieces of this ice were broken off and placed in an ice chest in the house or in the root cellar.

6
Which of the following elements threatened food supplies in settlement times?
a) fire, extreme weather
b) war, civil unrest
c) disease
d) pests
e) all of above
----
A: e
Fire and weather (rain, drought, frost, hail), war and civil unrest, crop and animal disease, and pests (insect, bird, animal) all threatened food supplies in the settlement era. Some experts predict that global warming will cause unstable weather, which will in turn threaten future world food supplies.

7
Did settlers count on wild foods to enrich their diet?
a) yes
b) no
----
A: a
Settlers ate many wild foods including various berries, wild cherries, wild leeks and garlic, fiddlehead ferns, apples and more. Sap gathered from maples trees to make maple syrup has become a Canadian classic.
Photo: fiddleheads

8
We still eat many of the same foods consumed by early settlers because they are:
a) grown in our climate
b) economically viable
c) traditional
d) tasty and nutritious
e) all of the above
----
A: e
We eat many of the same foods that early settlers ate for all these reasons.

9
How do modern food preservation techniques compare to settlement methods?
a) different
b) similar
c) same
----
A: b
Many traditional preservation methods are still used including drying, pickling, canning and smoking. Modern techniques include freeze-drying, irradiation (food is radiated to kill microbes) and chemical food preservatives (to inhibit micro organisms).
Photo: strawberries

10
In terms of scale and variety how have food production systems, and agriculture in general, changed from the settlement era to modern times?
a) different
b) similar
c) same
----
A: a
Food production has changed significantly. Unlike early settlers, modern Canadians do not grow or raise a significant percentage of the foods they consume. We regularly purchase a great variety of food products from all over the world. Settlement farms were designed to provide fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat for one family. Modern farms specialize in specific crops and livestock on a much larger scale and with much more mechanization.

Treena Hein, Betty Biesenthal, Jeff Fox
Rory MacKay, Martha Burchat, Betty Biesenthal
1800 - 1950
Ontario, CANADA
© 2007, Davenport Centre - Heritage Hall. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

* describe the relationship among family customs, traditions, and food, using current social science research methods;
* demonstrate an understanding of our Canadian food heritage
* determine the contribution of cultural and regional foods in the development of our Canadian food heritage and culture
* organize, interpret, and communicate the results of their inquiries, using a variety of methods (e.g., graphs, diagrams, oral presentations, newspaper articles, hypermedia presentations, and videos);
* correctly use food and nutrition terminology (e.g., nutrients, food heritage, indigenous foods, food traditions)


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