Root Cellar Traditions

Root cellars have played an important role in the folklife of Newfoundland and Labrador for generations. These underground or partially underground structures are used to protect food such as vegetables, berries and preservatives from frost in the winter and heat in the summer. They were constructed by digging a hole in the earth, reinforcing with wood, rock, and mortar, and then covering with sod leaving small door for access.

Once commonplace throughout Newfoundland, root cellars provide consistent humidity and temperature levels essential for food security prior to the introduction of electricity and refrigeration. Additionally, root cellars have also been the site children’s games and stories, fairy legends, and other local lore. They have come to be recognized as a prominent symbol of Newfoundland`s agricultural heritage and represent current potential for food security and self-sufficiency movements within our province.