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OUR Ecovillage has approximately nine acres in food production, including greenhouses, propagated gardens, food forests, animals areas and grazing space. As with all areas of our site, permaculture is always on our mind as we plan and grow as much food as possible to meet our community’s needs.
We work with some challenges on site, including our soil. Given our location, much of our growing space is occupied by some variation of glacial till, which is not the most naturally-inviting medium in which to grow! In order to work around this, we make raised beds and do a lot of sheet mulching, which utilises recycled cardboard and yard waste to quickly and efficiently build good soil. It is an on-going project in our gardens!
OUR main garden area is set up in zones, where the plants which require the most care and attention, as well as those which we use the most are closest to the common area, greenhouses, and kitchens, while the more self-sufficient and less-often harvested plants are further away.
One of our newer crops, which we are very excited about, is citrus! With the help of Bob and Verna Duncan from North Saanich (Fruit Trees and More) we are learning about how very possible it is to grow citrus on Southern Vancouver Island, without the need for artificial fertilizers or heated greenhouses. A simple strand of the ‘old’ Christmas lights and a heat sink made from cob walls and recycled glass creates enough protection from our mild winter to overwinter our orange and mandarin trees. We hope to be able to start harvesting next year.
We also incorporate poultry and other animals into our food systems. We pasture raise heritage breeds of animal, which are heartier and thrive on our pasture. A typical mix of animals might include a laying flock of Rhode Island Red hens, Muscovy ducks, our turkeys (a Bronze/wild cross), some milk goats, a cow or calf, some Berkshire hogs, and our mixed flock of ewes.