In spring of 2012, I began creating an orchard and an edible forest garden (food forest) at Terra Perma, on land that was previously used as farmland about 50 years ago. I chose the site for its south-east orientation and its moderately steep slope. Some light clearing and earthworks and were undertaken to create access and terraced growing areas. Other than the initial fruit tree planting, only minimal maintenance was done for the remainder of 2012 and 2013.
In 2014, I moved to the site and continued to develop the project, clearing land, establishing a vegetable garden, and moving my plant nursery onto this site. In 2015, more clearing was undertaken in the areas with young, low value forest regrowth of primarily balsam fir and poplar trees. Charleen Kotiuga began working with me and togeather we continued transforming the land with multi-use terraces. We also built a smoker to smoke our hot peppers.
In 2016, we continued development of the site with more clearing and earthworks; an expanded nursery; a shiitake mushroom growing area; the creation of both an alpine and hugelmound garden; and the construction of a commercial greenhouse for growing the nursery plants and for food production. We also saw an increase in volunteer participation which we hope will continue to grow into 2017.
As this project continues to evolve, we will be transforming the space into a diverse agricultural landscape with interwoven areas of vegetable production, plant nurseries, seed saving, food forest, small coppice plots, ponds, animal grazing, and in the long term perhaps a permaculture farm stay, bed and breakfast. As part of the Terra Perma project, visitors can visit the site. Click here for more information.