David Hinks has been an enthusiastic vegetable gardener for many decades. He was brought up on a dairy farm in south-western Ontario where he was introduced to gardening at an early age by parents and grandparents – in particular his paternal grandmother liked to take her grandchildren in hand and show them how to plant beans right-side up, create perfectly straight rows with stakes and a rope, and harvest and shell only the plumpest peas. For the last 40 years David has gardened in allotment gardens in Ottawa.
David broadened his interest in gardening by joining the Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton in 2002. Master Gardeners is a not-for-profit organization of volunteers that provide free gardening advice to home gardeners. He took correspondence courses in horticulture from the University of Guelph as part of the requirements to join Master Gardeners. As a result he ventured beyond vegetables and enjoy learning more about perennial flowers, shrubs and trees. David is currently starting a two-year stint as the coordinator of the Ottawa-Carleton Master Gardeners and also organizes its participation at the Carp Farmers’ Market and the Carp Garlic Festival. David has written articles on gardening for local media and have prepared and made many presentations to community groups. One of the major themes in his presentations is a commitment to empowering people to grow their own food.
As an economist and senior policy advisor, David worked in the fields of shipping and inland waterways for over thirty-five years, primarily for the Canadian Federal Government. Following retirement, David moved to Carp and about a year ago moved to Almonte.
David believes that gardeners can choose to work with nature or see it as the enemy and hopes we are moving away from a gardening model where we try to kill everything that creeps, hops or flies to one where we realize that a sustainable balance where we encourage a balance among our bug friends is more attuned to our long-term survival as a species.
During the summer David works about one day a week at the Green Thumb, a locally-owned full-service garden centre in Ottawa. He also conducts workshops in the spring on an introduction to organic vegetable gardening in Ottawa on behalf of the Community Gardening Network of Ottawa.