Local Linen Production in the News

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Spring has arrived and we are deep into watching the forecast, and clutching handfuls of soil checking to see if its dry enough yet. A wet and cool month has meant that we're a few weeks behind, but today's sun shine promises that we'll soon be all caught up on transplanting and field work.

The latest on the flax front is that we've had some great coverage from the Chronicle Herald, a newspaper with provincial circulation. There's some really nice pics! Check out the link to read the story. We were really pleased to be approached to be part of this story which shows the history of flax growing and linen processing in Nova Scotia and its potential as a sustainable industry here.

This news piece has been nicely timed with our initiative to build up a network of other interested individuals, artisans, farmers and textile industry folk. If you'd like to be kept in the loop with our monthly newsletters, follow this link. Our hope is that The TapRoot Fibre Lab can flourish with the support and engagement of others that are passionate about natural fibres and sustainable value added products.

Down in the flax fields we are madly (the excited kind of madly) waiting the arrival of our seed from the Netherlands. It has been a long road of paperwork and we can't wait to see little green flax seedlings germinating in our field.

Stay connected to the TapRoot Fibre Lab, join our monthly newletter.


All about Fiddleheads!

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Originally posted 14 May 2013, Reposted 12 May 2014.


Fiddleheads are one of the world's coolest greens. These unfurled fronds of the ostrich fern (matteuccia struthiopteris) are known as fiddleheads because they resemble the finely crafted head of a fiddle. Depending on the weather, they begin to appear around late April to early May along river and stream banks, in open woodlands and at the edges of swamps and marshes across New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. They are harvested when just a few inches off of the ground so they are still tender and tightly coiled.

Loaded with healthful properties (such as iron and potassium), fiddleheads are easy to cook and, like asparagus, have a delicate green flavour that is best accentuated by simple cooking.

Though the flavour and texture may not be to everyone's taste, those of us who love them look forward to their fleeting appearance each spring.

How to cook fiddleheads
Fiddlehead preparation is easy. With a brush, carefully remove brown scales then wash well under cold running water to remove dirt before cooking; trim woody stems. Boil fiddleheads in lightly salted boiling water for 10 minutes (or steam for 20 minutes.) Serve at once with a drizzle of olive oil or melted butter and a squeeze of lemon.

Cooked fiddleheads can also be used like blanched or steamed asparagus in pasta, quiches or omelettes. They also make lovely salads when tossed with diced tomatoes and lemon-garlic vinaigrette.

How to freeze fiddleheads
Fiddleheads freeze well and, due to their short season, many people like to put some away for later use. To freeze, remove scales and wash thoroughly then boil in a small amount of water at a time for two minutes. Drain and let cool. Pack in freezer bags and store up to one year.

Note: Health Canada advises that fiddleheads should be cooked thoroughly before eating. Consuming raw or undercooked fiddleheads may cause diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach.

For other fiddlehead ideas, try the following Canadian Living recipes:
Fiddlehead Pasta Primavera
Fiddlehead Omelette
Creamed Fiddleheads and Carrots

International Day of No Shoes - From Jem

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International Day of No Shoesʼ


Many of the children Barefeet works with spend years walking the streets

barefooted facing day to day struggles with no shoes on their feet – to support our

activities we would like you to do just one day or one hour .

One day or one hour. No shoes.

On May 30th 2014 we want to set the world record for the most amount of people

at work- or at home in their bare feet.

We want to encourage organizations, work places, clubs, schools and individuals

to register to take part in this initiative – go barefeet- and help raise funds and

awareness for the organisation.


First you register and we will include you on our website and social media

platforms. Then on the day we would like you to post a snap of you and your

colleagues without your shoes. Barefeet would be delighted if registered groups

were able to contribute something voluntarily towards Barefeetʼs nominated

activity for this year. Link to contribute is:


Barefeet go Brouhaha


In Zambiaʼs 50th year we are excited to announce that 12 young Barefeet

members have been invited to perform at festivals and events in New York, the

UK and Ireland. The festivals will cover some of the costs but we are fundraising

for the rest. We want to help make this life changing opportunity a reality for 12 of

our young people. Any proceeds from this yearʼs event will go towards our target

of bringing all 12 to learn and share on a world stage.



There will be three top prizes for organizations who are most dedicated and

whose picture is most creative. Winners will also be forever immortalized in a

shrine at the Barefeet HQ in Lusaka.

Get involved


For company and individual participation please register your company (or your

individual intention to take part) with Barefeet by emailing Charlotte on or call +260976256324

The website to donate any contributions is

Participate by uploading pictures of your Barefeet to the Barefeet Facebook page






Meet Thomas:

Thomas is a shy 18 year old whose brilliance and passion shines every time he performs for an audience.

Thomas has been working with Barefeet since he was 11 years old. He was the youngest boy at one of the centreʼs we worked with in Kanyama, but despite being a man of few words he could certainly express himself through movement. One of most fearless and agile acrobats for yearʼs Thomas was theflyer – who was top of the pyramids and the highest in the lifts.

Born and raised in Chibolya Township Lusaka, Thomas always dreamed of being part of something great. He remembers watching older children taking part in acrobatics and at a young age, he begun to emulate them. Financial hardships that he faced at home like inadequate food supply and lack of school fees meant that for a while Thomas was forced to abandon school and got caught up with a group of peers in the area who were a bad influence. With little convincing Thomas started to work with the Barefeet acrobats again and his experiences away from the group enabled him to strive harder and train longer to perfect all the hard acrobatic moves the older boys did.


One of the core team, Thomas was an obvious person to benefit from the experience of seeing other countries and seeing first hand how performances are created across the world. Thomasʼs journey in Barefeet has been a long and impressive one that we want to inspire other children with similar stories, to give some hope, belief and something to work towards. An ex member of the Barefeetʼs Childrenʼs Council, we look forward to watching Thomas share his experience abroad with the other children in Barefeetʼs network.

When he heard he had been chosen to be part of the Brouhaha festival, he screamed with joy and let the words sink in as he broke into an ecstatic dance as only Thomas could.

Eat your Greens: 10 Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens

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#1 – High in Calcium: Dandelion greens are loaded with calcium. Just one cup of chopped dandelion greens has 103 milligrams (10% of the recommended daily value) of calcium! That’s slightly more than kale! Add two to three cups of dandelion to a smoothie with calcium-rich fruits like orange, kiwi, fig or papaya and you’ll have a green smoothie that has more calcium than any dairy product!

#2 – Rich in Iron: Next to fresh parsley, dandelion greens have a high iron content. One cup contains 1.7 milligrams of iron.

#3 – Low Calories: Like all leafy greens, dandelions are low in calories. One cup of chopped dandelion greens has only 25 calories.

#4 – Loaded With Antioxidants: Dandelion greens are high in vitamin A in the form of antioxidant carotenoid (beta-carotene) and vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps facilitate iron absorption.

#5 – The Ultimate Detox & Cleansing Green: If your goal is detoxification and cleansing, dandelion greens should be the ones you use in green smoothies! They are said to help cleanse the liver and many detox recipes call for them.

#6 – Lots Of Minerals: Dandelion greens are rich in minerals. Besides calcium and iron, they are a good source of copper (10% RDA), manganese (8% RDA), phosphorus (5% RDA), potassium (5% RDA) and magnesium (5% RDA).

#7 – 14% Protein: Dandelion greens have more protein per serving than spinach. The greens themselves are 14% protein and contain all essential amino acids so it’s a complete protein. One chopped cup contains 1.5 grams of protein.

#8 – Multivitamin Green: Besides vitamin A as beta-carotene (186% RDA) and vitamin C (21% RDA), each cup of chopped dandelion greens are also good sources of vitamins B1 (9% RDA), B2 (11% RDA) and B6 (11% RDA), vitamin E (13% RDA) and especially abundant in vitamin K (357% RDA).

#10 – Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens: The nutrients in dandelion greens may help reduce the risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and stroke. Dandelion contains anti-inflammatory properties which may provide benefit to those with asthma and other inflammatory diseases.


Beet and Cucumber Salad Recipe - shared by Christine

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I was just being bullied by those beets in my fridge on the weekend (as in, guiltily looking at them, knowing I need to use them, and not being willing to make yet another pot of borscht!), wish I had seen this as it looks like a great way to use some of those beets up!

Member Chris tried it and says:

"Yum! All Taproot except for the dill and the olive oil and lemon in the homemade mayonnaise."