Food forest pioneer returning to EK

Richard Walker, Canada's leading food forest pioneer, will giving a food forest workshop on May 10 and 11 at Clear Sky Center.

Attendees at last spring’s Food Forest Workshop are pictured out at Clear Sky. Food Forest pioneer Richard Walker will be returning May 10 and 11.

Attendees at last spring’s Food Forest Workshop are pictured out at Clear Sky. Food Forest pioneer Richard Walker will be returning May 10 and 11.

For The Townsman/Bulletin

Richard Walker, Canada’s leading food forest pioneer, will return to the East Kootenay to give an annual food forest workshop on May 10 and 11, 2014 at Clear Sky Center.

In celebration of Richard’s design of the first ever one-acre demonstration Cold Climate Food Forest in Canada (planted here in the East Kootenay last May at Clear Sky),  College of the Rockies and Clear Sky Center are collaborating to present a seminar, happening May 9 at 6:30 p.m. called Grow Your Health.  This free semina r— taking place at the COTR main campus at 6:30 p.m. on May 9 — will feature Richard Walker sharing his favorite herbs and medicinal plants that you can try in your own home and garden to “grow your health”.

Richard Walker, an organic farmer from Edmonton, spent over 20 years converting 3.5 acres of degraded land into an abundant food forest with rare and unique fruit nuts, and medicinal plants from all over the world. Richard has been hosting workshops and offering combined health and food forest garden consultations across B.C. for the last five years while maintaining his passion for food forests at his property in Oliver.

The basic idea of a food forest system is that we design how we grow food based on natural forest principles and relationships. In other words, we copy the way elements in a forest co-exists. Forests don’t need to be fertilised by us, watered by us, weeded by us, or plowed by us. They are self-fertilising, self-regenerating, abundant, diverse and highly resilient. In an established food forest system, we don’t have to replant, rototill and fertilise every year. Food forests have a natural mulch layer, meaning we don’t need to water as much, if at all.

“We know that the health of a human community depends on the health of the ecosystem,” said Catherine Pawasarat, Chief Visionary Officer for Clear Sky.

When we know how to grow a variety of foods suited to our climate and life-styles, we can enjoy a rich and nutritious diet from perennials, and “grow our health” — though it will take us a while to change our conditioned habits about what we do and don’t like to eat.

And, of course there will still always be room on our plates and in our gardens for annual vegetables, (who could give up tomatoes).

Wouldn’t you also love to try: Ostrich ferns and asparagus followed by Rhubarb Pear Pie with a walnut crust with a cup of home-grown seabuckthorn, mint or anise hyssop tea from your garden?

Clear Sky Center is collaborating with College of The Rockies, which shares a commitment to promoting health and wellbeing in our region with the “Grow Your Health” presentation. To find out more about how you can grow your health contact COTR’s Continuing Education department at 250-489-2751, extension 3381.

To register for the two-day workshop at Clear Sky Center, contact Michelle Heinz, Director of Operations at michelle@clearskycenter.org or call 250-429-3929.