By Teprine Baldo
« Mom, Mom, come here, I think I saw a fairy in our herb garden, it almost looked like a plant, but it had wings and a face and looked like a violet flower! » At first I chuckled and then thought of the days when my mind and imagination as a child had perceived things that may not have been there – Ah, to be a child again. We decided to build an herb spiral garden with our young kids because our farm tasks were too heavy for them to manage. The idea came from my daughter who was inspired by the Herb Fairies books by Kimberley Gallagher. She was sure that if we built a spiral with all these different plants the fairies would come and share their medicine and magic with us. So we learnt online how to build an herb spiral and that there was a whole world of permaculture out there that focuses on how to integrate herb spiral designs, beauty and utility into our family project.
Permaculture is a movement sweeping many Quebec communities, villages and cities. It is an integrated approach to interacting with your natural environment to mimic natural cycles that the forest already does to maintain an infinite balance between all living things within that system, including humans.
The movement started by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Australia in the 60’s has crossed borders and is now being mutated into new forms to address the needs of the people and communities worldwide. Off shoots of the movement address issues such as sustainable housing, soil health, people care in communities and sacred economies where fair share and social justice are at the forefront.
Many permaculture techniques come from observing what our natural environment already does to maintain balance without human intervention, allowing systems to fall into place so that they support themselves. Tried and true permaculture techniques, I would assume, have been practiced long before the 1960’s by Indigenous people all over the world.
As a woman farmer, I wanted to support the thriving initiatives that include other women farmers and permaculture so I met up with Gwynne Bassen, an amazing and inspiring woman from Abbondanza farms in Mansonville. We decided to organize a 2-day workshop at Gwynne’s farm, on the basic principles of permaculture, herb spirals, companion planting, and mushrooms. It is really exciting when farmers get together and decide to create community by working towards similar goals. On Saturday evening, we will all return to Le Noyau farm for dinner and camping. Around the campfire we’ll discuss and try to understand some of the accessibility issues that women, women with children, people of color and Indigenous people are facing in this movement and how it is being fully integrated into various and different communities. Then on Sunday we will look at how companion planting, mushroom and soil health can contribute to the success of our crops and create mini sustainable systems in every pocket where we implement them. Vivian Kaloxilos, other amazing woman in permaculture from DocTerre, a soil health company, will join us and will bring her soil microscope to let us look deeper into the soil and go hunting for nematodes, bacteria and fungi and project it on a larger screen.
So if you want to ignite the child in you, learn about how to see fairies again, and how to integrate some of these amazing systems into your life, check us out, give us a shout and come learn with us.
Two-day workshop at two farms
This two-day workshop introduces you to the basics of permaculture, an ethical, sustainable design method that we can apply in our gardens. Permaculture employs the observation of patterns and features in nature to design for a sustainable future. We will learn how these design tools can help us create beautiful, abundant, and self-sustaining gardens.
Saturday, June 17th at Abbondanza Farm, Dunkin
Permaculture design tools will be put into practice as we learn to build two complementary garden features: a no-dig « lasagna » garden, and a stone herb spiral. First we will prepare the ground with a lasagna bed, a tried and true method of building productive garden beds without disturbing the soil, and without breaking your back! In the bed we’re prepared we will construct an herb spiral, a design that is as productive and efficient as it is beautiful, allowing us to grow a wide variety of herb species in even the tiniest gardens.
Saturday night – Potluck dinner and community discussion during and after supper on the accessibility of permaculture for women & people of color especially in the teaching positions. Share your perspectives, opinions and solutions!
Sunday June 18th Le Noyau Farms, Frelighsburg, Quebec.
We will dig deep into soil health, mushrooms, companion planting, and seeds. By the end of the day we will have a better understanding of the life beneath the ground that our plants depend on, and how to combine plant varieties to get the best results in our gardens.
This course will be given by Graham Calder from P3 Permaculture, a social enterprise that promotes appropriate ecological and social solutions to today’s collective challenges. Their courses have inspired farmers, homeowners, and business owners to incorporate sustainable practices onto their sites.
The cost of this workshop includes a free lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Dinner on Saturday night and breakfast on Sunday morning will be potluck-style; please bring something to share with the group! After Saturday’s workshop at Abbondanza we will carpool to Le Noyau, where camping facilities are available for the night. Participants are required to come prepared with everything they need, including camping gear. Spaces in this workshop are limited; please reserve your spot by registering here https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-permaculture-garden-a-weekend-workshop-on-permaculture-tickets-33752333137.
June 17th -18th, 2017
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$75 per day or $150 for the weekend
On Eventbrite: The permaculture Garden – A weekend workshop on permaculture.