Root Cellars are a part of Elliston’s strong unique and cultural heritage. Over 135 Root Cellars dot the landscape of Elliston, and for this reason, Elliston declared itself the Root Cellar Capital of the World. A high number of cellars wasn’t the only reason for this declaration; Elliston was the first community to use the Root Cellars as a symbol for early subsistence in such harsh climates.
Without Root Cellars, our ancesters would not have been able to survive the cold winters and rocky terrain. Root crops such as turnip, carrot, potato, and cabbage were all stored in the cellars of Elliston to preserve a food supply throughout the cold, unforgiving winter months. When cellars have the correct temperature, drainage, and humidity, vegetables will stay fresh for a period of 9-12 months. Many people would grow their own vegetables, and store them in their cellars for fresh produce all year long.
Tourism Elliston embarked on a project to restore many of the old Root Cellars in 2000 and 2001, and have since restored 50 cellars and built a new one from the ground up. Any cellars in Elliston that have open doors are welcoming you to come inside and have a look.
In 2013, Tourism Ellison partnered with The Conservation Corps Green Team Initiative to hire youth to repair and build Root Cellars. The Green Team, with the help of Ellistonian Sid Chaulk, restored eight cellars, and started construction of a brand new one from the ground up. We feel fortunate to have had four youth show such enthusiasm in the art and science of root cellaring.