Curious about the work-in-progress garden on the north side of Sooke Road west of Drennan Street? The one that was adorned with a tarp, rubber tires and squash vines last summer and now features a berm covered in straw and bursting with green shoots?
A year ago, the Sooke Transition Town Society teamed up with certified horticultural designer Jonathan Francoeur and homeowners Adam Noseworthy and Cheryl Lane to begin creating a showcase permaculture garden that would inspire local residents to grow more food and less lawn.
“We’re slowly but surely building a food forest that produces food, fibre and other useful byproducts from every plant within it,” says Francoeur. “A project like this is a long, patient process, but by starting now we’re on our way.”
The garden is growing fast at the moment. A load of cedar chips was donated and a team of volunteers will arrive later this month for a fun one-day “permablitz” to dig, build a fence, lay down pathways and spread the mulch. The first Permablitz takes place on Sunday, June 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 6460 Sooke Road. Interested people are encouraged to come and help transform what was once a typical front lawn into a perennial food garden. This project will be a showcase and treating site to help others do the same. On this day we will be doing shallow excavations of the garden paths and laying down cardboard and whoodchip mulch. This will be a time for socializing and learning about the plans for the garden. Participants are asked to bring a plate or bowl, mug and cutlery. Lunch and drinks will be provided, If you can bring shovels and a wheelbarrow. Questions? Call Stephen at 250-664-6492.
Permaculture is a holistic set of ethics and design principles that mimics patterns and relationships found in nature. It is the foundation of a Transition Town philosophy first developed by Rob Hopkins in Kinsale, Ireland at the turn of the millennium.
It’s also the subject for lively discussion and hands-in-soil practice at a new Permaculture Sooke meet-up group that has been gathering at Cast Iron Farm across from the Sunriver Community Garden on the fourth Saturday afternoon of the month. Hosts Tony and Christiana St-Pierre extend a welcome to everyone to drop by the farm on June 27 at 2 p.m. to make friends, share food and learn more.
“Usually associated with gardening and farming, permaculture embodies principles that can be applied to community relationships, education and even business,” explains Transition Sooke board member Stephen Hindrichs. He and Inishoge Farm’s Mary Coll recently taught a class on the subject to EMCS students in teacher Dave Clark’s Environmental Studies program.
Francoeur launched Everything Edible Landscaping a decade ago and worked at bountiful Vancouver Island spots like O.U.R. Ecovillage and Madrona Farm before settling in Sooke.