Climate Change, Swales, and a future for farming

Equinox upon us, the balance of the season, and we have just launched an Indiegogo campaign for our core funding. We need to put some money into our truck, to maintain ongoing paperwork, and continue leading events and workshops and pioneer more and more solid Right Livelihood, as the Buddha called it, Finding the Sweet Spot as Dave Pollard calls it in his book on the subject. We must find the mid point between three variables that include passion, skill and what people need.

Cascadia North Permaculture Co-op Core Funding:  Our Indiegogo campaign shortlink

Building soil is an ongoing process, and a wonderful one which yields fruit and nut, seeds and greens, and is served by farm animals’ manure, seaweed, biochar to name a few great things you could add. Could we have a small herd of nomadic goats on Vancouver Rooftops and lawns that replace loud and polluting mowers, when the grazers have always done this job, leaving gifts of natural fertilizer in their wake? In fact I think i heard there’s actually one now?! Joel Salatin has an amazing book called Folks This Ain’t Normal in which he describes his experiences farming with animals, grazing them in different areas of land and moving them around to get the goodness they want out of the soil and leave what they don’t need behind.

Another real boon of Permaculture farming is on swales, along contour, planting tree systems, using keyline dams, and succession. If we could farm Canada, we could mulch-in the hardy edibles, the fuel crops, and the tender food crops. Massive greenhouse domes could allow us to produce tropical fruit and warm our houses as done at the Rocky Mountain Institute in Boulder Colorado. Other tried and true ways which have persisted through the ages and the cultures, such as the Yeomans Plough, and endless variations of small earth systems, are there for the learning and the creating with.  It is happening around the world, this funny word Permaculture. I like it more and more. I think it means we like ourselves.

There are a few new cob ovens on the way, but sadly, ours was replaced by a lovely set of composters. There were challenges and tenants changing hands, and a cob oven takes a community to run it, and a couple of brave souls to light it and remain near for some hours possibly while holding a pizza funraiser. The location wasn’t where it was meant to be from the beginning so with any luck we will be able to build another one in Hastings North with the Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network, HSCFN.

The people are suffering right now. Some people don’t seem to realize that Earth is worth saving, and that all people are redeemable, in a good way, can regenerate, most especially if he or she is willing to go through healing and wellness, with the support of friends, family and community. We are collectively living through truth and reconciliation here on unceded Coast Salish Land and Waters, a process of regenerating culture, and people, to find some resolve and better ways of life. So we have new tools in our toolbelt, tools to use to talk about how we are feeling and what we are needing. The word hangry has just been released for someone who is mad because they are hungry.  We now have non-violent communication, or Compassionate Communication, thanks to Marshall Rosenburg, a language of observations, feelings needs and requests, so we can speak for ourselves, for inspiration, and come and work together for a greater good.


3 Stomps in November

The sun was out on Sunday morning. For our first big event we needed to get the oven ready to bake for 75 people.   Joni Wright, who has run the Cob oven at Earthwise, and Joanne McKinnon, director of the Hastings Sunrise Community Food Network came to meet with us to discuss how we could make the oven more efficient and plan for the event. “Don’t think pizza dough, think flat bread” said Joni.

At the last firing, really our first firing, we had ash and bits of clay sticking to the bottom of the pizza, which wasn’t cooking all the way through so we flipped it over half way through. Joni suggested using a pan or metal tray which makes good sense. The oven was also looking much more cobbed on one side so we got right to work with members of Permaculture Vancouver stomping our fist batch of clay for the day. Freezing toes and hands led us to do the following stomps in boots!

The group split into teams, some cobbing and some people going around town to collect supplies. First we filled the base with rubble and cobbed one more side in. Then we made it back to the farm in Burnaby to harvest some beautiful clay. There was a lot of water on the land and the soil mixed in, giving the oven a beautiful brown hue.

The roof had some design work done on it today, and we collect some recycled lumber generously donated from Steve Punko. The design will need to be approved, and will be built in spring.

At the end of the day we went out front to see the garden… the wheat that had spilled on the floor at the last event is growing! The spelt is starting to fruit, and there are still some beans to save for seed, now bigger, mottled ones from Nancy Brignall of Fiddlehead.

Thank you to everyone for a great collaborative day!

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Cob Oven in the Hastings Sunrise

After a long process, with a visit to City Hall and the Engineering Department, we were finally able to get permission to install a mobile cob oven at the Nisga’a Garden on Franklin and Kamloops. This weekend we welcome volunteers through the Vancouver Tool Library’s City Commons project (inspired and educated by Portland’s city repair and City Commons projects).