Yearning for a life aligned with the earth, we stepped out of mainstream society and into the forest to re-learn what it means to live in harmony with each other and the land.
Our vision is to live in balance with the earth, and at peace with ourselves and each other.
Our primary goal is to learn how to live with the land in ways that provide for our needs while increasing the health, resilience and function of the surrounding ecosystem and human community.
Our secondary goal is to facilitate, educate, and empower people to create resilient relocalization and cultural and ecological regeneration in their own lives and communities.
Our practices include permaculture design, 8shields, regenerative agriculture, keyline design, agriforestry, holistic management, the soil food web, ecosystem based conservation planning and a whole bunch of trial and error.
Hidden amongst the trees of the West coast of British Columbia, we invite you to join us on this journey into land stewardship and community building!
Help with Eco project
Located on Salt Spring Island off the coast of British Columbia, the land is part of the coastal Western Hemlock bio-geo-climatic zone. Commonly known as a temperate coastal rainforest because of the cool summers and mild, wet winters, which support highly complex and productive forests, this region is home to a tremendous amount of plant and animal life.
The land is nestled in a large plateau near the top of Mt Tuam. Selective logging in 2000 has left the land as a mix of young and mature forest, with small fields and a large outcropping of rock breaking up the gently sloping ground. Several streams wind across the land connecting a series of ponds and wetlands together. Before we arrived there was no human infrastructure other than a network of logging roads, and a drilled well.
The forest is a mix of Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Grand Fir, Western Red Cedar, White Pine and Red Alder. Three Big Leafed Maples, a willow and a Pacific Yew are scattered through the forest. Stinging nettles, foxglove, daisies, thistles, oceanspray, mullen, salal, Oregon grape, various mosses, lichens, ferns and lots of grasses make up the understory. Many species of insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals live in, on, and above the land.
In these early stages our work is focused on setting up the basic systems for us to be able to live on and support ourselves from the land.
The main projects for 2019 are:
We currently have about 1000 sq. ft. of no till raised garden beds, planted with a variety of kitchen herbs, vegetables and beneficial insect attracting support plants. The beds are irrigated with a gravity fed, low pressure drip system. This year we will refine the drip system, create more garden beds and increase the density of our plantings to better use the space we have.
The Food Forest
We are turning 2.5 acres of land that was recently logged into a food forest. We have thinned out the existing forest and our two pigs are busy clearing the underbrush and digging up the stones and roots. As the pigs move through the land, we will cover the soil with mulch or a cover crop, fence around the perimeter, dig a series of swales, berms and ponds, and then plant the food forest!
We are creating biologically active compost using Elaine Ingham’s Soil Food Web method. This year we will start making compost tea & extracts from this compost to apply to the soil and plants.
We have been experimenting with making biochar and this year we will continue to refine the process and make larger quantities of biochar to add to the soil and animal bedding.
We’ve set up a vermicomposting system and this year we plan to modify it to make it easier to harvest both the castings and worms.
We also mulch with hay, cardboard and wood chips to cover the garden beds, paths, bare soil and the compost toilet barrels.
We invested in home biogas digesters and this season we are going to set them up and start turning our biomass into methane cooking fuel and liquid fertilizer. Then we want to convert a generator to run off the methane gas so that we can generate electricity from our food scraps!
Because we live in a cold climate the digesters will need insulation and heating to keep them active in the winter. We plan to build an insulated box around the digester and then run a closed-loop compost heated hot water line into the digestive chamber.
As the garden expands so does our need for a place to store all the tools, equipment and materials needed in it. We are going to build a garden storage shed that connects to both the roadway and inside of the garden out of trees cleared from the future food forest area.
After 3 seasons of cooking and eating outside we are ready for a covered kitchen area. The design and creation of a covered kitchen and eating space will be a major focus of this year.
Compost Heated Water
After two years the novelty of running water has finally worn off, so now it’s time for the hot water upgrade!
A big compost pile generates a lot of heat, possibly enough to heat a water line running through the center of the pile. You get free hot water while the pile decomposes and a bunch of soil at the end of the process. Sounds almost too good to be true…let’s see if it’s possible.
Slow Sand Filter
We plan to build a simple slow sand water filtration system to provide clean drinking water without the need for energy or high tech components to power it.
Our accommodation options are still fairly limited but in the warm weather things are perfectly comfortable
Bringing a tent and sleeping gear is your best option.
There is a canvas wall tent with cots for groups or couples.
We have a basic outdoor kitchen complete with all that's needed to cook and eat well, composting toilets, solar powered shower and solar usb chargers and portable power packs to charge devices.
We live and work almost completely outside so come prepared to get intimate with nature!
Salt Spring Island is a great place to get lost for a while. The island is packed with natural beauty and friendly, interesting people. The towns are quaint and full of art galleries, delicious food, cafes and vibrant markets. And there are also countless gatherings, ceremonies, workshops and educational programs being offered all over the island.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week