Experiential Permaculture at LFG
In 2012, I met my partner, Doug Visser on an organic agricultural tour of Cuba. Little did we know that we lived 15 minutes apart in Edmonton. He lives on the best vegetable growing land in central Alberta, on a farm within the Edmonton city limits, and he will be putting a conservation easement on this perfect land, this year, so that it will stay in agriculture for time immemorial. In Cuba, I had mentioned my volunteer work doing arts and crafts at the Bissell Centre Drop-In and how I wished that I could help build an intentional agricultural community where people who have been formally marginalized could fully participate in their health and wellness with the right supports. So we began the first step with Doug, planting a 3 acre vegetable garden and me, developing relationships with 12 agencies that include The Mustard Seed and Stan Daniel's Healing Centre. The focus of the agricultural tour in Cuba was on Permaculture, which we don't do presently, but would love to develop as our next project, with your help. We feel that we will eventually be able to develop a permaculture landscaping social enterprise with our gardeners, but first we have to teach them about permaculture - "Permaculture includes integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture and regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modelled from natural ecosystems" (wiki). So basically our gardeners will eventually be able to landscape the yards of city folk into agricultural systems that are largely self-maintained and produce food for human consumption, and the birds and the bees and other creatures. Our first step will be to hire a permaculture specialist to build a permanent demonstration permaculture garden, with the help of our gardeners, so that they can learn experientially how to do it. The garden will also serve as a permanent teaching resource for future gardeners.
Who Will it Benefit?
This growing season (May - Sept 2019) volunteer gardeners coming up to our 3 acre vegetable garden through out the week with 12 different social agencies that transport and supervise their members during their assigned time slot.
Mondays - Stan Daniel's Healing Centre and AHS Mental Health and Addictions (youth)
Tuesdays - John Howard Association and Wild Rose Caregivers.
Wednesday - Inner City Recreation and Wellness Program and AHS Mental Health and Addictions (adult)
Thursday - EXCEL and Winnifred Stewart Association and Emmanual Home Seniors and Capital Care McConnell Place North and in the evening we open up the garden to the general public to help harvest for Edmonton's Food Bank (The Muslim Youth Network may be part of this evening harvest this year)
Friday - The Multicultural Health Brokers and The Mustard Seed.