Monthly Archives: June 2011

Introduction to Permaculture


This weekend, Chris and I attended a two-day course on introductory permaculture principles and design concepts. The course was taught by Adrian Buckley of Big Sky Permaculture (a Calgary-based permaculture company). Day 1 of the course was spent in a classroom at Kwantlen College’s Langley campus and included a tour of their horticulture/ growing spaces. Day 2 was spent in a greenhouse and on the grounds of the absolutely magical Maple Discovery Gardens in Langley. (Separate blog post coming on Maple Discovery Gardens and what they’re up to there).

The course was great. A number of the theories and principles we discussed were things that I was already familiar with, but the course provided me with a more thorough foundation than I’d previously received from random google searches and YouTube video viewings. Particularly helpful and AWESOME were the lessons in land planning. It was like interior design for land (and we all know how much I love interior design!). Okay, okay – kind of like interior design, but a little more complicated than the kind of interior design projects I take on…

There are a lot of details that I could repeat from the course here, but rather than listing everything I learned, I’m going to break topics and concepts into separate blog posts. Time to make this blog a little more technical and informational (alongside our fun stories and photos).

To start though, for those of you who aren’t familiar with permaculture, the basic premise of it is this:

Permaculture is a philosophy of working with nature – allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions.

It includes three basic principles: 1) care of earth, 2) care of people, and 3) return of surplus. Rather than just focusing on sustainability (meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future), permaculture focuses on regeneration. It emphasizes becoming a producer instead of a consumer and modelling our efforts on the cycles we see occuring naturally in nature. When practiced and carried out correctly (noting that there are many ways it can be done), permaculture results in small pieces of land creating high yields of food, water and other energy sources while regenerating the soil, water, plants, insects, animals and humans that use it.

More details and examples and permaculture farm projects coming soon!

Photos: an afternoon in the garlic patch


Chris, Jules, Kai and I spent some time hanging out in the garlic patch this week. We weeded a bit, checked out the progress of our peas and beans and pulled up some garlic bulbs to see how they were doing. We’re going to leave the rest of the garlic in for a bit longer, in the hopes that the bulbs will get bigger, but things are looking great and we’re excited to start eating some of our own food. I’m thinking it’s time for some roasted garlic and pesto made from the scapes!

a farm feast fundraiser


All photos by the lovely and talented TraceyJ.

This past weekend, I hosted an outdoor feast and bonfire at the farm to raise funds and awareness for Opportunity International Canada, a fantastic non-profit organization that provides microcredit loans, savings accounts, insurance and training to poor entrepreneurs around the world. As someone with an academic background in international development, I’ve been aware of microcredit development projects for a long time and always been a big fan of the model they follow (very community-oriented, providing empowerment instead of charity). I actually work part time for Opportunity, managing some of their website and social networking projects, but it was fun to do something a little different by volunteering my time (and the farm!) to participate in their Dine for Dignity campaign.

A great crew of adults, children and pets came out to enjoy good company and locally-grown, organic food, while chipping in to help me raise my fundraising goal (we did it!). The sun was out, the farm animals loved the attention and a variety of mini-farm adventures took place, including pulling a guest’s car out of the ditch with the tractor, electric shocks from the pig fence, bunny cuddling, and enjoying a gift of home-brewed beer.

Huge thank you to everyone who came out to help make the event a success and a VERY BIG thank you to my friend Tracey who took some absolutely beautiful photos of the farm. She’s captured some very special images for us.

If you’re interested in learning more about Opportunity International Canada, I encourage you to check out their website. Although I’ve reached my own personal fundraising goal, the overall campaign is still very much in swing and my fundraising page would happily accept additional donations that continue to come in :)

To see more (informal) photos of the event, visit my album on flickr.