Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Richmond Sharing Farm & Bokashi


The Richmond Sharing Farm (also known as the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project) is a very cool food sharing project that occupies over three acres in the Terra Nova Rural Park in Richmond, B.C. The main purpose of the farm is to grow food to share with loca food banks and other outlets that help get the food to people who need it. In addition to this, the farm hosts community garden plots, university level research areas and permaculture educational experiments.

On the second Sunday of each month, the farm hosts a free permaculture meetup. My friend Chris and I have attended the last two and plan to attend more. The photos above are from the October meetup. It was a gorgeous, fall day and Chris and I had a chance to participate in a bokashi-making workshop as well as tag along on a guided permaculture tour of the property. 

Bokashi is a form of composting that is ideal for small, indoor spaces because it produces compost without creating bad o
dours. At the workshop, we were taught how to make our own bokashi mixture that is added to composted food to help break it down. The concept was totally new to me and since I didn’t take notes or video footage, I’m having to rely on wikipedia now for reminders about the details, but in short, bokashi is created by combining a mother bacteria with a starter mix (we used bran), then left to sit in a warm space for at least 3-4 weeks to allow the bacteria to start spreading through the mix. When it ready to use, you add a layer of mix over your compost scraps as you accumulate them. You keep it all in an airtight container so that the bacteria can do what it does best – ferment and break the food down. You can stack one container inside another and add a spout to the bottom one to catch and use the compost tea (liquid) that is created as the food breaks down. Compost tea is great for spraying on gardens and into soil. If you’re interested in learning more, this website looks really helpful and has some good visuals. We each got to take a bag of the bokashi mix home (fun!). Mine is currently sitting on a shelf above my fridge (the warmest spot in the trailer), awaiting it’s time to be used for my compostable food scraps.

As you’ll see from the photos above, our tour of the property included the community garden plots, examples of owl houses, swales in a wet areas, hugelkulture beds in process, the greenhouse, bee houses and a beautiful outdoor cob oven (which just got a new roof). 

The farm property is GORGEOUS and truly an inspiring place to spend an afternoon. It’s open to the public for visits so if you live in the area, I highly recommend it. And if you’re interested in attending some of the permaculture meetups, sign up to the Vancouver Permaculture Meetup Group for ongoing info. 

October farm to-do-list


This blog post is a little late now that there’s only one week left before November begins, but the group of us met earlier in the month to discuss our goals for October. We haven’t been very good at meeting regularly to discuss farm matters, create goals and divvy up the managing of projects, so our October meeting was intented to kick-start regular monthly meetings and to inspire us to make lists and get stuff done.

October projects:

  • plant spring bulbs (around the property, including the guilds)
  • plant perennial seeds (if we want some?)
  • plant garlic, radishes, broad beans and spinach
  • cut back raspberry canes
  • transplant new trees & shrubs ($150 allocated to new food trees)
  • dig up an offered cherry tree waiting in a friend’s yard & relocate it to our farm
  • do dump & recycling runs with trash on the property
  • set up rain barrels
  • create a ‘potting’ table
  • complete duck paddock
  • get hay (for animal bedding & for mulching)
  • research free compost & bread (for chickens) options
  • build rabbit tractor

Longer-term goals discussed:

  • expand fencing 
  • expand guilds into a food forest 
  • fix house roof 
  • expand chicken run & produce more eggs 
  • be more intentional about harvesting 
  • prepare to join farmers market 
  • expand food growing areas 
  • create food storage systems – cold storage & greenhouse 

Looking at this list now, it’s clear that we have a busy week ahead of us to get everything done that we wanted to complete in October. It’s good to make lists, but even better to review them. Time to get cracking!

Harmony Hill: our new farming friends across the Atlantic

[vimeo w=600&h=339]
A video tour of forest edibles at Harmony Hill. Watch more of their videos on their vimeo page (I recommend the ‘Making Nettle Beer’ ones)!

A few weeks ago, I recieved this email:


I’m one half of @Harmony_Hill on twitter and been reading and learning about what you’re doing from the website. It’s really impressive and I’ll be sure to keep updated with how you’re getting on. Just had a look at your wish list and although we’re in Britain and shipping to you wouldn’t be that environmentally friendly, what we thought you might like are some seeds. We ordered far too many from the Agroforestry Research Trust and would be more than happy to send you some different varieties. Totally understandable if you only want plants, trees or shrubs but just a thought anyway.

We’ve only been here for just over a month now after leaving London and we’re enjoying it as much as you guys seem to be. We bought this place from a lovely elderly couple who spent the last 10 years transforming 2.5 acres of woodland into this dream forest. When we told them we hoped to turn it into a forest garden they were very keen to tell us they were good friends with John Seymour, who I see is in your resources list. I’m not sure if Martin Crawford is famous in the permaculture circle across the pond but he has been a real help to us and has quite a few clips on youtube.

Anyway, just thought I would reitirrate how much I liked the website and share the love :)

Happy farming,


I responded enthusiastically (of course) and suggested a cross-Atlantic seed swap. Multiple emails have been shared back and forth since and now I’m wishing that Pembrokeshire, Wales was a lot closer so that we could go and visit the Harmony Hill project in person.

Louis and James describe themselves on twitter as, “two friends leaving London to use permaculture, forest gardening and renewable energy in an effort to earn independence and live a more fulfilling life…”. Their facebook page states, “Who needs money? We’ve decided to try and secure a comfortable future by finding fun and easy ways of making everything we need for ourselves. Permaculture opened a lot of doors and now we’re well on our way. Being greedy and stocking up on $ just didn’t seem fun at all… and you only get one life after all. Fingers crossed we’re not just dreamers :)”.

I like these guys a lot. They recognized their dissatisfaction with the 9-5 status quo lifestyle and they did something about it. Their videos depict two humorous and adventurous guys who are figuring out this ‘growing-your-own-food-and-learning-to-live-in-a-more-simple-yet-valuable-way’ as they go. Kinda like us :)

Louis – thanks for that initial email! We’re stoked about what you’re doing and excited to share seeds, swap stories and watch your own permaculture story unfold.